CDC acknowledges COVID-19 virus is airborne

CDC has said that when an infectious person exhales virus indoors for an extended time, it leads to virus concentrations in the air space sufficient to transmit infections to people more than 6 feet away

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The CDC has recommended physical distancing, use of well-fitting masks, adequate ventilation and avoidance of crowded indoor spaces to avoid catching the virus. Pic: Representative iStock

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged that SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is transmitted through respiratory fluids, i.e., very fine droplets emitted during respiration.

This comes a month after Lancet had released a report stating that the virus which has caused a devastating global pandemic is airborne and had warned that public health measures should take this into consideration to prevent the spread of this infectious deadly virus.

According to the CDC, which updated their guidelines on its website on Friday (May 7), people release respiratory fluids while talking which then settle on nearby surfaces or can remain suspended in the air. While the larger droplets settle out of the air within seconds or minutes, the smallest very fine droplets and aerosol particles can remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours.

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Also read: Daily COVID-19 deaths may go above 2,000 by June, says Lancet study

So, the chances of getting infected are high within three to six feet of an infectious source, where the fine droplets and particles are the greatest.

“The risk for infection decreases with increasing distance from the source and increasing time after exhalation,” the US body said.

Transmission events have taken place “when an infectious person exhaling virus indoors for an extended time (more than 15 minutes and in some cases hours) leads to virus concentrations in the air space sufficient to transmit infections to people more than 6 feet away, and in some cases to people who have passed through that space soon after the infectious person left,” it said.

The body has recommended physical distancing, use of well-fitting masks, adequate ventilation and avoidance of crowded indoor spaces to avoid catching the virus. The CDC further cautioned that these safety methods will reduce transmission both from inhalation of virus and deposition of virus on exposed mucous membranes.

“Transmission through soiled hands and surfaces can be prevented by practicing good hand hygiene and by environmental cleaning,” advised the US health body.

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