CDC says guidance about coronavirus spreading through the air ‘posted in error’

Coronavirus

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention walked back its guidance on how COVID-19 spreads.

The CDC’s website was updated last week to say “it is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.”

Now, the CDC says that update was a mistake:

“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”

Centers for disease control and prevention

On its website currently, the CDC states that COVID-19 is spread between people who are in close contact, and through “respiratory droplets or small particles,” plus surfaces where those droplets land.

Here’s what the CDC’s website said in June:

Here’s what the CDC’s website said on Sept. 16:

Here’s what the website says now:

A spokesperson for the CDC issued the following statement to NewsNation Monday afternoon:

Internal CDC program’s concerns regarding COVID-19 transmission language led to revision of the “How COVID-19 Spreads” web page without appropriate in-house technical review. 

We are reviewing our process and tightening criteria for review of all guidance and updates before they are posted to the CDC website.

Scientists studying the spread of COVID-19 tell NewsNation there is no doubt the virus can spread beyond six feet in certain situations.

Professors at Florida Atlantic University have been using a mannequin in a simulation to visualize and study the spread of the coronavirus for months. They say a heavy cough can send droplets as far as 12 feet.

“These aerosolized droplets don’t fall to the ground very quickly. They can linger in the air,” Dr. Manhar Dhanak with FAU said.

The FAU experiment shows that droplets were stopped by surgical grade masks, and face shields also slowed the spread.

The scientists say an outdoor breeze or a fan inside can also make a difference in how far droplets spread.

“Inside the room, the smallest droplets are basically at the mercy of what the background airflow looks like, and that is mainly impacted by the air conditioning in the room,” Dr. Sid Verma with FAU said.

The United States has more than 6.8 million cases and nearly 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to data on Monday from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine — Coronavirus Resource Center.

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