The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has agreed and announced that coronavirus is airborne and spreads through talking and breathing. In its updated guidance published on its website, the CDC announced that coronavirus can be aerosolized when infected individual talks or breaths, and a healthy person can get infected this way.
CDC now lists COVID-19 as an airborne virus and says it is very contagious and spreads through the air. While the agency had earlier recommended for people to keep a six feet distance between themselves, the federal agency has now updated its recommendation to state that people must stay above six feet to avoid contracting the disease.
“Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread,” the CDC wrote, adding that coronavirus can be transmitted “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes.”
To this extent, CDC states that coronavirus can be inhaled through the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs where it causes inflammation and serious illness that could be fatal if untreated in time. The agency says that “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” especially in indoor environments such as restaurants and fitness classes where ventilation is not so great.
To protect individuals, the CDC now advises that people should stay more than six feet distance from one another; and that they should still maintain hygienic practices such as wearing face masks, washing of hands, disinfecting surfaces, and to observe other necessary health protocols. They also warn people to self-isolate when they feel sick and to use air purifiers to reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces.
Top scientists and several studies had published the possibility of COVID-19 being airborne before the CDC acknowledged it, and they pushed for the federal health agency to acknowledge it so that the American public can be aware of the problem and act accordingly.
“Currently available research supports the possibility that [coronavirus] could be spread via bioaerosols generated directly by patients’ exhalation,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and chair of the NAS’ Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats wrote to the White House in April.
Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland who studies how viruses are transmitted, expressed satisfaction that the CDC acknowledges that coronavirus is airborne. “It is time for WHO to acknowledge these advancements in science,” he said.