Six feet distance not enough to prevent COVID-19 spread: CDC
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance on COVID-19 and confirmed that the airborne transmission of the disease is possible. The admission from America's top health body comes as there are millions of active COVID-19 cases, and the world is trying to maintain social distance to prevent transmission. Here's more about it.
In its update, CDC said that COVID-19 could sometimes spread through the transmission of coronavirus-laden aerosols. These particles, the agency said, might remain suspended in the air for several minutes to hours and reach people separated by even six feet - a distance that was previously considered safe to dodge the respiratory droplets released by the talking, sneezing, or coughing of an infected person.
"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 six feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area," the agency said in its guidance.
CDC emphasized in its guidance that the cases of airborne transmission are possible in closed, poorly ventilated spaces. It said, in the select cited cases of airborne transmission, the spaces were closed and poorly ventilated, and the people performed activities involving heavy breathing like singing or exercising. This way, the airborne particles "became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people."
The acknowledgment from the CDC comes months after 239 scientists raised alarm over airborne spread and urged the WHO to recognize it. In response, the health agency did acknowledge that there was some evidence of airborne transmission in certain environments. Notably, the CDC had also published similar guidance last month but removed it later, calling it an un-reviewed draft post.
That said, even with the latest admission, the CDC has not changed the recommendations to stay protected. As per the agency's website, you need to be six feet away - given that close contact still appears to be a more common way of transmission - as well as wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and clean surfaces regularly.