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CDC again updates guidance to say Covid-19 can spread by airborne transmission

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has again updated its...

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 5:01 PM

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has again updated its guidance about how Covid-19 spreads to include information about potential for airborne transmission.

"CDC continues to believe, based on current science, that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19," the agency said in a statement on Monday.

"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. In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles."

Still, the available data suggest "it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission," the new guidance says.

How Covid-19 spreads

The agency still says Covid-19 is thought to mainly spread through close contact between people -- within 6 feet of each other.

"When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets," the guidance says. "Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream."

But the CDC now says the virus can spread through small particles of virus that linger in the air and may be able to infect people more than 6 feet away. In enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, a person who was breathing heavily -- while singing or exercising, for example -- can infect people who aren't nearby, even after the person with Covid-19 has left the space.

The new guidance is also clear about asymptomatic transmission: "People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others," it says.

However, CDC says Covid-19 spreads "less commonly" through contact with contaminated surfaces, and "rarely" between people and animals.

CDC says people can protect themselves from the coronavirus by staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth, washing hands frequently, cleaning surfaces and staying home when sick.

CDC says previous guidance was posted in error

Many researchers and doctors have said for months that coronavirus can be transmitted through small airborne viral particles. In July, 239 scientists published a letter that urged the World Health Organization and other public health organizations to be more forthcoming about the likelihood that people could catch the virus from droplets floating in the air.

Some said they were encouraged last month when the agency updated its guidance to say Covid-19 could spread through the air.

But days later, CDC abruptly reverted to its earlier guidance, which did not include information about airborne transmission. The agency said a draft version of proposed changes had been posted in error, and the guidance would be updated again once the scientific review process was completed.

The unvetted post followed reports of interference in other CDC guidance and reports and sparked concerns about political pressure.

"The fact that they retracted this, even though this is common scientific knowledge at this point, one has to wonder what's behind it," said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician at George Washington University and CNN medical analyst, said last month. "Was there political pressure? Political interference that's driving this rather than science?"

In a statement on Monday, CDC said its recommendations to prevent spread remained the same "based on existing science and after a thorough technical review of the guidance."

"The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus," it says.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156868

Reported Deaths: 3851
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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