NEW YORK, USA — The U.S.’ top public agency said Monday that the coronavirus can be transmitted more than 6 feet through the air, especially in places that are poorly ventilated and enclosed.
However, some officials said that such spread rarely happens and that current social distancing guidelines are still important.
Several experts also said that the virus can spread faster than the CDC seems to think and maintains that the public should still wear masks whether indoors or outdoors– even if they are more than 6 feet apart.
The virus “is traveling through the air and there is no bright line. You’re not safe beyond 6 feet. You can’t take your mask off at 6 feet,” said Dr. Donald Milton of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
For months, experts have always stressed that the main mode of transmission of the coronavirus is through small airborne droplets that are suspended in the air when a person coughs or sneezes. Most CDC guidance about social distancing is built around that idea, saying that 6 feet is a safe buffer between people who are not wearing masks.
In interviews, officials have also acknowledged growing evidence that the virus can spread on even smaller particles called aerosols that spread over a wider area. This is the reason why dental health practitioners are believed to be at the top of the list of professions with the highest occupational risk hazard.
According to the Associated Press, in the update posted on CDC’s website, the agency also acknowledged recent research showing people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after an infected person left an area. CDC officials called those ”limited, uncommon circumstances.”
In those rare cases, spread occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces where people were doing activities that involved heavier breathing, like singing or exercise, CDC officials said.
People can protect themselves by observing social distancing from others, wearing a mask, washing their hands, cleaning touched surfaces and staying home when sick.