The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention withdrew guidance “posted in error” warning that the novel coronavirus could be spread through the air.
“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,” the CDC said in its updated guidance Monday. “CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).”
The CDC has long maintained that the coronavirus is transmitted through droplets spread among people in close proximity to one another. On Friday, it updated its guidelines, adding that the virus also spreads through “respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes,” adding that this is the main vector of infection.
The guidance no longer says COVID-19 can be spread through the air, and the agency said it will update the language once its review process “has been completed.”
Outside health experts have argued that aerosolized particles should not be ruled out as a significant driver of transmission. In July, more than 200 scientists implored the World Health Organization in a letter published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases to acknowledge the “significant potential for inhalation exposure” to the coronavirus and revisit evidence backing their argument.
The CDC revised other coronavirus guidance last week to say that people who have been exposed to the coronavirus but do not have symptoms should get tested, reversing a controversial policy set in August that recommended against such testing.
It was then revealed by the New York Times that CDC scientists did not write the August testing guidelines and that the document did not go through the normal vetting process before publication.
Frequent policy reversals from the CDC have fomented fears that politics, not science, are driving the agency’s response to the pandemic.
To date, more than 6.8 million COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in the United States, and the death toll is fast approaching 200,000.
Author: Cassidy Morrison
Source: Washington Examiner: CDC removes guidance saying coronavirus spreads through air