Dr. Fauci Now Warns That COVID Does Spread This Way

As scientists and medical experts have begun to better understand the novel coronavirus in the months since the pandemic began, a growing consensus is emerging about how COVID can be spread from person to person. Unfortunately, the past few weeks have seen a strange back and forth taking place with the nation's top health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with sudden changes to guidelines and disappearing information confusing the general public. But Anthony Fauci, MD, wants to make clear that despite the recent turmoil, he's confident that COVID does spread through airborne droplets.

During a Facebook Live interview with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Sept. 24, Fauci reaffirmed that the science behind this form of transmission has been thoroughly backed up. "I think there's good enough data to say that aerosol transmission does occur," Fauci said, further explaining that "aerosol means the droplets don't drop immediately. They hang around for a period of time."

Live with Dr. Anthony Fauci

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Posted by Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday, September 24, 2020

The top infectious disease expert's comments come days after the CDC posted an update to their guidelines on Sept. 18 that acknowledged the virus could in fact be spread through the air. But the CDC removed the update just three days later, saying it had been posted "in error," which unleashed a torrent of criticism from medical experts and officials nationwide.

Despite the agency's flip-flopping, Fauci was clear about airborne transmission and recommended that everyone still follow the basic health guidelines to wear a face covering and social distance while in public.

"Generally if you have droplets that come out of a person, they generally go down within six feet. So, if you're six feet distance, you're wearing a mask, you don't worry about that," he said.

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This is far from the first time Fauci has expressed his views on COVID being spread by aerosolized droplets. During an Instagram Live interview with actor Matthew McConaughey on Aug. 13, Fauci said that while it was somewhat possible for the virus to spread via contact with surfaces, it was much more likely to spread throughout "droplets [that] are aerosolized."

"Overwhelmingly, it is [spread] person to person through the respiratory route," he said. "Droplets are aerosolized from one person to another." And for more behavior to be aware of right now, check out 24 Things You're Doing Every Day That Put You at COVID Risk.