The CDC has finally acknowledged that the coronavirus can be airborne

The CDC has finally acknowledged that the coronavirus can be airborne 

The news: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidelines to acknowledge that the coronavirus can be spread by tiny particles that linger in the air. The agency said it took the decision due to the mounting evidence that people with covid-19 can infect people even if they are more than six feet away, or shortly after the infected person left the area. These cases all occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces, and often involved activities that cause heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. 

The significance: Evidence that airborne transmission is occurring has been mounting for months. The WHO still has not recognized airborne transmission as a significant factor in the pandemic and the CDC’s slowness to acknowledge it has caused frustration among aerosol researchers, some of whom say it is the main route for infections. The CDC maintains it only occurs in “limited, uncommon” circumstances. Airborne transmission has become a topic of fierce contention, partly due to the fact it makes it far riskier to reopen spaces like restaurants, gyms, bars, schools, and offices.

What do we do now? The CDC advises that people stay at least six feet away from others, wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth, frequently wash their hands, clean high-touch surfaces often, and stay home when they are feeling sick. However, the implications of airborne transmission mean the CDC perhaps ought to shift its emphasis and go further, advising people to properly ventilate buildings, limit the number of people indoors at any given time while encouraging them to stay further apart and masked, and try to socialize outdoors where possible. Read the full story.


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