CDC: Growing Evidence That COVID Spreads Mainly Through Air

September 21, 2020 - 10:34 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly confirmed what many in the scientific community have said for months about the spread of COVID-19, updating its website on Friday to state that the virus spread is mainly airborne, with droplets remaining suspended in the air and traveling more than six feet.

The CDC website now says that “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,” and cites examples of activities in which the novel virus could spread, including fitness classes, restaurants, and choir practice. Furthermore, it indicates that “indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”

Prior to the change, the CDC website encouraged people to keep a social distance of around six feet, but now it urges people to “stay at least six feet away from others, whenever possible.”

In March, a superspreader event at a choir practice in Washington led to 53 cases of coronavirus and two deaths. One person who reported having cold-like symptoms at the 2.5-hour practice later tested positive for COVID-19. A Skagit County Public Health report said that attendees were within one to six feet of each other during the rehearsal, and noted that “the act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization.”

A CDC study published earlier this month found that adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were “twice as likely” as adults without COVID-19 to have eaten at a restaurant in the two weeks prior to falling sick. The report didn’t specify whether the study participants who tested positive for COVID-19 and reported eating at a restaurant dined indoors or outdoors.

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