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COVID-19 can travel more than 6 feet through aerosols, CDC warns

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Kuldeep Singh
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that coronavirus spreads not only through nearby contacts but over a distance of more than 1.8 meters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States have introduced an update on its website recognizing the possibility of contagion of COVID-19 through the air through aerosols in closed spaces. In a letter published last night in the journal Science, a team of scientists also emphasized taking activities outside and improving indoor ventilation.

After they mistakenly published a draft in September admitting that possibility, the CDC now accepts that the coronavirus can pass from one person to another through aerosols (tiny particles that we emit when we breathe and stay in the air for a time) in certain circumstances.

“There is evidence that, under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 appear to have infected others who were more than 6 feet (1.83 meters) away. These infections occurred within closed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes, the infected person breathed with difficulty, for example, while singing or exercising,” they indicate.

“Under these circumstances,” they point out, “scientists believe that the amount of smaller infectious particles and droplets produced by people with covid-19 concentrated enough to transmit the virus to others, who were in the same space at that time or shortly after the COVID-19 person left.”

This scenario in closed places is one of the circumstances under which air transmission of SARS-CoV-2 appears to have occurred, as well as prolonged exposure to respiratory particles, often generated with expiratory effort (e.g. when shouting, singing – several cases have been documented in choirs – or exercise) and inadequate ventilation or air management that allowed the accumulation of small droplets.

But the CDC insists: “The available data indicates that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has the disease than through airborne transmission.”

However, the CDC’s recommendations remain the same, as people are more likely to become infected if they are longer and closer to a person with COVID-19.

“People can protect themselves from the virus that causes COVID-19 by staying at least 6 feet away from others, wearing masks that cover the nose and mouth, washing their hands frequently, wiping surfaces they touch frequently, and staying at home when they are sick. “

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