CDC abruptly pulls COVID-19 guidelines on airborne spread

Среда, 23 Сен, 2020

As the world's health experts work to best advise the public on best practices surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus, some errors are bound to occur.

For months, however, public health experts have repeatedly stated that the novel coronavirus can also be transmitted through tiny droplets known as aerosols and have urged health agencies to acknowledge this mode of transmission.

"A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency's official website", the CDC said on its "How COVID-19 Spreads" page.

Mr Brett Giroir, a top Trump administration official overseeing the testing, defended the change in a briefing last month as meant to illustrate the limitations of the virus screenings and said the new guidelines were "a CDC action".

Because on Friday they had posted that "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".

"Certainly we haven't seen any new evidence and our position on this remains the same", Mike Ryan, director of the WHO's emergencies program, told reporters Monday at a press conference, adding he will be reaching out to the CDC for clarification.

In the "draft" changes to the CDC website, they included a preventative measure about ventilation, stating "Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread".

The U.S. agency says the latest evidence indicates the virus spreads mainly by close contact between people. "These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. And 6 feet apart may be insufficient, esp indoors w/ poor ventilation".

The CDC did not immediately return TIME's request for comment.

Aerosol and Koranovirus experts say the change is a profound change in understanding how the virus, which has caused almost 200,000 lives in the United States, is spreading.

Experts on aerosols and the coronavirus said the change constitutes a profound shift in understanding of how the virus that has claimed nearly 200,000 lives in the United States spreads.

"While the current [coronavirus] specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing, ' according to the letter, written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and chair of the NAS" Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats.

Respiratory droplets are larger and fall to the ground quickly - hence the six-foot rule that's generally considered safe for social distancing amid COVID-19.

It also points out that the use of masks should not replace other prevention measures, but be complementary to them. The agency had previously said people who have had close contact with an infected person but don't have symptoms may not need a coronavirus test.

But by Monday afternoon, the CDC reversed its guidelines and removed the update from the page.

They also updated the guidance that particles can remain in the air longer and travel farther than originally thought.