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article imageOp-Ed: Now, what's going on? CDC pulls latest guidance on COVID-19

By Karen Graham     Sep 21, 2020 in Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday that revised guidance quietly posted on Friday that said airborne transmission was thought to be the main way the virus spreads was “posted in error.”
On Friday, the CDC posted "new guidance" that said “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.”
“These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection,” the deleted guidance said, reports The Hill. “This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
The CDC pulled the new version it posted on Friday today, Monday, after getting a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier today.
The WHO had not seen any “new evidence” on airborne particles and was checking with the CDC to “better understand” the exact nature of the change, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a news conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters, according to CNBC News.
Interestingly, the WHO has said that Covid-19 primarily spreads through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs, sneezes or breathes, so the CDC got that right. However, the WHO has said it is monitoring “emerging evidence” of possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus.
However, there is evidence out there - lots of it that could aid in saving lives if utilized.
One very interesting study suggests that the virus is viable up to 4.8 metres away from the patient. This is over twice the recommended 2 metres (6 foot) spacing recommended by most governments.
Another study showed that Influenza viruses can spread through the air on dust, fibers and other microscopic particles, according to new research from the University of California, Davis and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai. The findings have obvious implications for coronavirus transmission as well as influenza.
There are other studies that suggest the virus can spread through the air. One study published by the National Institutes of Health earlier this year found that particles of the coronavirus released by talking can remain in the air for eight to 14 minutes.
The WHO's position “on this remains the same,” Ryan said, “and we’ve always said going back over months and months about the potential for different kinds of roots of transmission and particularly driven by the context, the proximity, the intensity, the duration and the potential for different forms of transmission.”
WHO said there is still no “definitive” evidence that indicates the virus is spreading widely by air, although it added that the possibility of airborne transmission in public settings “cannot be ruled out.”
My big question is simple - Just how much evidence is needed to say that the coronavirus is capable of airborne transmission? And if the coronavirus is easily spread through the air, it is all the more reason to wear a face mask for protection. So maybe the CDC is not wrong?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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