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Susan Collins Presses CDC Director on Why It Is ‘Exaggerating’ Risk of Outdoor Transmission

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is pressing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on why the agency is “exaggerating” the risk of outdoor transmission of COVID-19.

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Collins cited an article from The New York Times about CDC guidelines on mask-wearing.

“The CDC announced that less than 10% of COVID-19 transmission was occurring outdoors. The article points out that this is, ‘Almost certainly misleading’ and goes on to say there is not a single documented COVID infection anywhere in the world from casual outdoor interactions such as walking past someone… or eating at a nearby table,” Collins said.

The New York Times article was just one example of why Collins does not consider the CDC “the gold standard” anymore.

Collins said the “confusing, conflicting” guidance from the CDC “has undermined public confidence and contradicts the scientific guidance of many experts.”

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She explained, “So here we have unnecessary barriers to reopening schools, exaggerating the risks of outdoor transmission, and unworkable restrictions on summer camps.”

Addressing the Times article, Walensky replied, “There’s a meta-analysis from the Journal of Infectious Diseases that was published in November, I believe, where the top-line result of all studies that were included in the systematic review said less than 10% of cases were transmitted outdoors.”

Dr. Muge Cevik, a virologist at the University of St. Andrews, said the CDC number “seems to be a huge exaggeration.”

Multiple epidemiologists told the Times the transmission of the virus outdoors seems to be below 1% and could be below 0.1%.

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