CDC backtracks on warning that coronavirus is airborne

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The version posted quietly Friday cautioned that the virus spreads mainly through “aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.” The guidance also noted that the particles that can travel farther than 6 feet and are especially dangerous in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

And it specifically cautioned that choir practice, restaurants and fitness classes or any indoor environments without good ventilation increase a person’s risk of catching the virus. The change in guidance was first reported by CNN.

Background: The CDC’s backtracking adds to mixed messages from the agency and the White House on the evolving threat of the coronavirus. It comes amid concern about political interference at the public health agency, after POLITICO revealed that the Trump administration has attempted to interfere in the CDC’s scientific reports.

For months, CDC has stressed that the virus spreads mainly between people in close contact — usually within 6 feet or less. That advice guided response efforts across the country, with businesses, schools and other establishments enforcing social distancing requirements that people stay 6 feet apart.

The Trump administration continues to push schools and businesses to reopen, and the president is holding large, indoor campaign rallies — which would be considered high-risk events under the retracted CDC guidance.

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