The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sparked confusion when it reversed its guidance regarding the airborne transmission of coronavirus.
The national public health institute updated a page on its website on Friday to offer a distinction for how coronavirus can spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols,” according to CNN. These types of aerosols can spread simply by someone breathing.
Guidance on the CDC’s website previously suggested that coronavirus could be spread between those who are within 6 feet and “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.”
The site information specified on Friday, “Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread.” More guidance has also been added to support the extended traveling distance of droplets and airborne particles.
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the page said, according to CNN. “In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”
The CDC has also added additional guidance for the American public to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition to the standard 6 feet of social distance, masks, and handwashing, the CDC recommended that sick people stay home, quarantine, and “use air purifiers to help reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces.”
However, the changes were quickly reversed with a notice placed at the top of the page suggesting the revisions were merely an update “error.”
“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),” the CDC declared. “Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”
The latest reversal has drawn criticism and scrutiny from public health experts all over the country who have insisted the changes will only spark more confusion.
Joining @brikeilarcnn @CNN: @CDCgov guidelines should change when there is new research, not when there’s political pressure. The whiplash around #covid19 testing + transmission causes mass confusion. CDC is on the verge of losing its credibility—in the middle of a pandemic.
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) September 21, 2020
A few days ago @CDCgov updated its guidance to reflect the growing consensus that coronavirus can spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols”.
This morning, its now saying that was “posted in error” and has been taken down.
— Craig Spencer MD MPH (@Craig_A_Spencer) September 21, 2020
The latest CDC contradiction comes just days after President Donald Trump’s clash with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. At the time, Redfield suggested that a face mask “is more guaranteed to protect against COVID-19” than a vaccine, as previously reported on IJR.
Redfield explained that while a vaccine could be effective, immunogenicity variances do not guarantee effectiveness for all people. Since masks are universal, the immune response is typically not a factor, which ultimately increases overall effectiveness.
As of Monday afternoon, the United States has reported more than 7 million coronavirus cases and has a death toll of more than 204,000. There are also over 4.2 million recoveries from the virus reported.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.