CDC says guidance detailing how coronavirus travels through air beyond 6 feet was published in error

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Super-high magnification of coronavirus particles (like the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic) spread through tiny droplets of liquid (aerosols) floating through the air. Illustration for means of transmission: droplet and aerosolized infection.

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on Monday for how COVID-19 spreads, going beyond just respiratory droplets and surfaces. However, the CDC issued a statement hours later that said the “draft version” of changes was published in error.

The CDC’s website updated late last week says, “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.” On Monday, the CDC included additional information about how long droplets can remain suspended in the air.

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). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Previously, CDC had said it just spread between people who are in close contact, and through “respiratory droplets or small particles,” plus surfaces where those droplets land.

Hours later, the CDC issued a statement that the “draft version” of the proposed changes were published in “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). Once this process has been completed, the updated language will be posted.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A spokesperson for the CDC issued the following statement to Nexstar’s 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.

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.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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