Oct 5, 2020 - Health

CDC acknowledges airborne COVID-19 spread

sign asking for social distancing

Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The CDC on Monday updated its guidance to acknowledge that COVID-19 can be spread through the air, particularly in poorly ventilated areas.

Why it matters: Consensus has grown that the coronavirus can be spread via lingering particles and droplets in the air by people more than six feet apart under certain conditions — though the CDC still says that spread mainly occurs through close contact with an infected person via larger respiratory droplets produced by coughing, sneezing or talking.

  • The update follows an error from the agency last month when the updated guidance was accidentally published without review.

What they're saying: "Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than six feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area," the agency said.

  • "In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles."
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