The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that coronavirus can spread through particles in the air and sometimes travel beyond distances of six feet — after walking back similar guidance last month.
The update on the agency’s site said that “COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission” due to small droplets that linger in the air for anywhere from minutes to hours.
“There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than six feet away,” the agency said.
“These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.”
The agency added that “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,” the page said.
The admission comes after similar guidance was posted last month and then taken down.
“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,” a CDC spokesman told the Wall Street Journal at the time.
The CDC said Monday it “continues to believe, based on current science, that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19.”
“Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area,” the agency said in a statement.