CDC removes warning on airborne spread of COVID-19

A man wears a face mask as he looks at a COVID-19 information sign in Montreal, Sunday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. has taken down from its website information about risk of COVID-19 transmission through aerosols, which is says was posted in error. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday it had posted guidance on possible transmission of the new coronavirus through airborne particles in error and it will be updating its recommendations.

“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,” the CDC said.

The CDC did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on when the guidance will be updated.

The now-withdrawn guidance, posted on the agency’s website on Friday, recommended that people use air purifiers to reduce airborne germs indoors to avoid the disease from spreading.

The health agency had said that COVID-19 could spread through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.

Presently, the agency’s guidance says the virus mainly spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets, which can land in the mouth or nose of people nearby. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is monitoring “emerging evidence” of possible airborne transmission.

The WHO has not changed its policy on aerosol transmission of the coronavirus, an official said on Monday.

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