CDC again releases guidance on aerosols and COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released new guidance regarding the role of “aerosols” – tiny airborne particles – in the indoor transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The move comes two weeks after the CDC removed a similar statement from its website, citing incomplete vetting. 

In its updated post to its website entitled “How COVID-19 Spreads, the CDC now observes that “COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact” between people who are within six feet of an infected person but that “COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission.”  

The guidance says some small droplets and particles can linger in the air “for minutes to hours… and [t]here is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than six feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation.” The web post also states the virus spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces. 

Some scientists praised the new guidance, while others said the CDC continues to place undue emphasis on close contact as the primary means of COVID transmission. 

The guidance was released as outdoor temperatures cool across the nation. Many Kansas schools moved classrooms outdoors at the start of the school year to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus 

In an October 2 Zoom session with Kansas school board members, Education Commissioner Randy Watson noted the change of seasons and the increased risk level associated with conducting classes indoors. Watson advocated for bringing students back to in-person learning by using community spaces to achieve social distancing and advised board members to ensure their districts purchase medical-grade air filtration systems 

You can read more about Watson’s remarks here 

Watson’s PowerPoint presentation can be accessed here.Here is a link to a video of Watson’s remarks and here is the podcast link. 

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