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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: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
Lowndes6008137
Lamar584480
Lafayette5707113
Washington5159128
Bolivar4594120
Oktibbeha439991
Panola426892
Pearl River4116128
Warren4114113
Pontotoc407368
Marshall399492
Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
Lincoln3464100
Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
Leake251770
Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
Jasper211844
Tishomingo211765
Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
Etowah13143319
Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
Choctaw54823
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