The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance and officially acknowledged what many health authorities have long claimed: COVID-19 can spread through aerosols generated when a person breathes.
The revised recommendation on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says the novel coronavirus spreads when people interact and microscopic respiratory particles are "inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways and lungs."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are one of the most infectious and easily transmitted. The center previously said the virus was believed to be transmitted primarily between people about 6 feet apart or closer and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person "sneezes, coughs or talks," CNN reported. "Stay at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible," CNN quoted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance as saying.
Scientists said the update underscored a profound shift in the concept of how the disease spreads. However, the revised guidance gave little in the way of new updates on how people can guard against airborne transmission. COVID-19 has killed nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. alone.
For months, medical experts have acknowledged the possibility of viral transmission through viral airborne particles and pushed health authorities to acknowledge it.
Meanwhile, the worldwide count of people who have died from the virus is fast nearing 1 million. More than 30 million infections have been tallied around the world with the U.S. contributing more than 6.7 million COVID-19 cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said there was increasing proof that airborne particles are highly contagious and droplets can remain in the air and travel more than 6 feet. In general, indoor environments that lack proper ventilation increase the risk, it said.
Airborne viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, are very infectious. "The best way to prevent sickness is to avoid being exposed to the virus," CNN quoted the health agency as saying.