Confusion Surrounding Aerosols and COVID-19

CDC retracts statement about aerosols causing COVID-19 spread

(RxWiki News) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted on its website about aerosol spread of COVID-19. A few days later, the statement was gone.

According to multiple news outlets, the agency had posted information on its website regarding how COVID-19 is spread. The CDC stated that aerosol transmission may be one of the "most common" ways the virus is spreading.

According to the original statement on the CDC website, COVID-19 spreads, "through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

However, the agency then deleted that statement a few days later.

In fact, the CDC website no longer mentions aerosol transmission at all. Now, the website only states that COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets when people are close together.

It's important to note that there is a difference between respiratory droplets and aerosol particles. Respiratory droplets do not linger in the air. Instead, they fall to the ground quickly. On the other hand, aerosol particles are much smaller and can stay in the air and then be inhaled by anyone passing by.

A CDC spokesperson offered one possible explanation for the changing information on the CDC's website.

"A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency's official website," CDC spokesperson Jasmine Reed told Medscape Medical News. "CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted."

You can take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus:

  • Wear a mask in public.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Follow other guidance from health officials.

Speak with your health care provider if you have any questions.

Last Updated:
October 6, 2020