CDC Updates Guidance To Say COVID-19 Can Spread in the Air Further Than 6 Feet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating guidance on its website to provide more information on how far COVID-19 spreads through the air.

“There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away,” the CDC said in its revised guidelines on Monday.

It continued, “These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example, while singing or exercising.”

“Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.”

Finally, the guidelines added, “Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission.”

This is far from the first time the CDC has updated its COVID-19 guidelines, as IJR reported. In August, the agency revised its guidelines to say that people who have been exposed to the virus but are not showing symptoms do not need to be tested for the virus.  

Just weeks later, the agency reversed itself and said people who have been exposed to COVID-19 should be tested regardless of whether they were experiencing symptoms.

The change in guidance regarding COVID-19 testing parked concerns that health information about the virus has been politicized by administration officials. 

The New York Times reported in September that the change in testing guidelines was made over the objections of scientists at the agency. Additionally, they claimed the new guidance was drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the website was updated without a review from the CDC.