In an update on the American Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) ‘How COVID-19 Spreads’ webpage, the organization has acknowledged the virus can spread from virus lingering in the air, hours after it was released by an infected person.
COVID-19 primarily spread from the respiratory droplets of an infected individual when it is released into the thin air via coughing, sneezing, or talking, which enters a healthy individual.
Previously the CDC has put up and again pulled-down statements addressing a potential spread of the virus via air, inciting a public furor and confusion over the agency’s response.
While the CDC maintains its evidence-based science which suggests the longer and closer a person stays with an infected individual the higher the chances of diagnosis, it is now acknowledging the possibility of airborne spread.
The updated information states there have been instances where the virus has infected individuals hours after it lingered on the air in enclosed spaces.
‘Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area,’ as per the CDC.
Conditions that made this case of transmission possible, the CDC noted, were mostly poorly ventilated and enclosed places and often involved activities like heavy exhale like exercise meaning greater chances of virus expulsion.
To protect, people are being urged to maintain at least 6-feet distance from strangers, wearing a mask and securely covering the face, nose, and mouth, and also washing hands frequently.
It must be noted, CDC’s warning that still stresses the close-contact spread of COVID as the primary mode of transmission, an open letter by scientists, unrelated to CDC’s announcement, has claimed aerosol transmission pose a major threat of spread, as good as close-contact transmission.
“There is overwhelming evidence that inhalation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a major transmission root for coronavirus disease 2019,” researchers wrote in the open letter, published in the journal Science.
“There’s an urgent need to harmonize discussions about the mode of virus transmission across disciplines to ensure the most effective control strategies and provide clear and consistent guidance to the public.
“Individuals with COVID-19, many of whom have no symptoms, release thousands of virus-laden aerosols and far-fewer droplets when breathing and talking.
“Thus, one is far more likely to be inhaled aerosols then be sprayed by a droplet, and so the balance of attention must be shifted to protecting against airborne transmission,” the paper read.
CDC’s primary guidelines of 6-feet social distancing are based on the droplet transmission of the virus, but now the agency is stressing on the aerosol spread, which is a much smaller particle, suspends on air for longer durations and potentially pose threat.