Can coronavirus spread through the air? CDC reverses updated guidance

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reversed recently updated guidance on how the coronavirus can spread.

The CDC said in a Friday update that COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, that are caused when a person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes.

It added there is “additional evidence” that droplets of air particles can be left in the air and inhaled by others — even traveling beyond 6 feet. ”In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk,” the CDC said.

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

A CDC official told The Washington Post the guidelines were removed because “that does not reflect our current state of knowledge.” The Wall Street Journal also confirmed the CDC pulled its new guidelines.

When it updated its guidance Friday, the CDC did not offer additional guidance on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Possible solutions could be more tightly fitted masks and improved ventilation, Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemistry professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told The Washington Post.

Hundreds of scientists published a paper this summer urging the World Health Organization to consider that the coronavirus may be spread airborne, The Washington Post reported in June. WHO later updated its guidance, “saying that airborne transmission had not been definitively demonstrated but recommending that people avoid poorly ventilated, crowded spaces,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

A scientific panel also told the White House in June that COVID-19 could be spread by talking and breathing, CNN reported.

“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, CNN reported.

The CDC also recently updated its guidance on asymptomatic carriers, saying people without symptoms should get tested, McClatchy News reported.