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The novel coronavirus can spread through the air to people who are more than 6 feet away from an infectious person, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.
Last month, it posted and then removed a guideline on airborne transmission, later describing it as a draft posted in error.
In an update to the website “how Covid-19 spreads”, CDC said that some infections can be spread by exposure to the virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.
This is noted based on evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example, while singing or exercising. Under these circumstances, scientists believe that the amount of infectious smaller droplet and particles produced by the people with COVID-19 became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people. The people who were infected were in the same space during the same time or shortly after the person with COVID-19 had left.
Though agency note that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission.
The update doesn’t change the CDC’s recommendations for how to protect against infection. It is recommended to wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart, washing hands, cleaning surfaces, and staying home when sick.