Monday morning, the CDC removed what it calls was a “draft version of proposed changes” to their website that seemed to indicate they were embracing mounting evidence that COVID-19 is airborne and is transmitted through tiny droplets that can linger in the air and spread farther than six feet.
“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted,” the CDC website now reads.
The “draft” changes included stating COVID-19 transmits through the air and warned about poorly ventilated situations, saying that is “thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website about coronavirus, under how it spreads, they listed the main way as: “Through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection.”
They also had updated the guidance that particles can remain in the air longer and travel farther than originally thought.
“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 (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk,” the CDC website read over the weekend.
The website has been changed back to their previous guidance which states COVID-19 is believed to be transferred through larger droplets through close contact, closer than six feet, with a person who coughs, sings, or otherwise expels these larger droplets carrying the virus.
The updated draft passages and comments on smaller particles and ventilation appeared to embrace recent studies from the CDC.
Including one released by the CDC earlier this month showing Americans with positive COVID-19 test results were twice as likely to eat at a restaurant or cafe than those who tested negative.
“Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation. Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance. Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use,” that report stated.
In the “draft” changes to the CDC website, they included a preventative measure about ventilation, stating “Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread.” That passage is no longer on the website.
The draft changes on the air transmission of COVID-19 also came on the heels of the CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, saying masks could be even more helpful in combating the coronavirus than a vaccine. President Donald Trump said later Redfield was confused by the question and misspoke.
The World Health Organization changed their guidance and noted the prevalence of air transmission, and those particles lingering in the air, earlier this summer in July. Hundreds of scientists encouraged the WHO to make the acknowledgement following research and studies.