The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added to the confusion about coronavirus, updating then deleting new guidelines about its spread that differ from the official position of the World Health Organization.
“It is possible that [Covid19] may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has [Covid-19] coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk,” the CDC said on its website on Friday, according to an archived copy.
The current version of the same page does not contain that passage. Instead, there is a note that “a draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error” and that new recommendations on airborne transmission are pending.
The CDC’s original update flew below the radar over the weekend, drowned out by the news about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and the ensuing political drama. On Sunday it was noticed and reported by CNN, while on Monday the Washington Post reported that the CDC seemed to be coming around to the position advocated by “independent experts” for months – that aerosol transmission of Covid-19 was a thing and that indoor ventilation was key to protecting against it.
That was certainly news to the World Health Organization, whose official position – enforced with draconian glee by social media platforms – does not mention aerosol transmission, and sets the preferred social distance at three feet (0.9 meters) rather than the CDC’s six.
“Certainly we haven’t seen any new evidence and our position on this remains the same,” Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s emergencies program, told reporters Monday at a press conference, adding he will be reaching out to the CDC for clarification.
Last week, the CDC publicly flip-flopped on testing guidance, abandoning its August recommendation that only people with symptoms, vulnerable persons and frontline workers should be getting tested.