CDC takes back guidance on COVID-19 transmission

Updated: Sep. 21, 2020 at 7:29 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There’s been some confusion from the Centers for Disease Control about how COVID-19 is transmitted.

The agency made a statement last week but removed the guidance Monday.

The CDC updated a document on Friday saying there was growing evidence that airborne droplets after a sneeze, cough or talk can linger in the air longer and travel farther than once believed.

But on Monday, the agency said that was a mistake.

Doctors at UAB said there’s been a long-standing debate in the academic community about whether coronavirus is primarily transmitted by droplets, like when we sneeze, cough, and talk, or airborne, traveling distances beyond 6 feet.

On Friday, the CDC said it’s transmitted both ways but then pivoted Monday, omitting its statement about airborne transmission.

“Science takes time and we’re constantly testing hypotheses. If we’re wrong, we change our approach, we may add new interventions,” said Infectious Disease Specialist at UAB, Dr. Ellen Eaton.

Doctors at UAB believe the virus is probably spread by a combination of droplets and airborne transmission.

They said many of the interventions we’re already doing will be helpful.

“And we feel pretty comfortable saying that because what we’ve seen in health care settings including hospitals and even some of our schools that are doing well keeping kids and teachers safe is that when everyone is wearing that mask, even if it’s a cloth mask, and when everyone is mindful of distancing, ideally 6 feet apart we’re seeing very few transmissions,” Dr. Eaton said.

Local doctors hope the CDC’S retraction won’t breed mistrust.

They’re encouraging people to be patient with the scientific and medical communities, as many have been working non-stop since the beginning of the pandemic.

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