CDC changes guidance on COVID-19, says airborne transmission is possible


Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published and then took down its guidance warning of possible airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus. The CDC then said they updated their coronavirus guidance Monday, September 28th.

Before, it was assumed that the coronavirus is being spread through physical contact, but as per the new guidance from the CDC, it is now clarified that airborne transmission is also possible. When a person who is COVID-19 positive sneezes or coughs, billions of mucus particles are ejected from the patient’s body, and due to quick evaporation of those mucus particles (as their main content is water), the virus travels in random motion in the air and can enter another person’s body.

According to the CDC, airborne can be used to describe any size particle-like droplet, dust, or pollen capable of traveling through air. However, most infectious diseases and public health experts reserve the term airborne specifically for use in the context of airborne transmission to describe infection capable of being transmitted through exposure to infectious, pathogen-containing, small droplets and particles suspended in air over long distances persisted for a long time.

Generally, it is said that some people could get infected by exposure to the novel coronavirus in small droplets and particles or aerosols, that can linger in the air for up to hours. Aerosols lingering in the air could be a major source of COVID-19 transmission, and a group of U.S. scientists warned in an unrelated open letter published in the medical journal Science on Monday. 

“The focus must be on protecting against airborne transmission because individuals with COVID-19 release enormous amounts of virus-laden aerosols and far fewer droplets with breathing and talking”, scientists of CDC said. “In these instances”, the CDC continued, “transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing”. Gyms, air-conditioned trains and buses, old infrastructural malls, and supermarkets can be dangerous for community transmission at a massive scale, according to the CDC. 



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