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CDC update: Covid transmission can occur from airborne particles that can linger for hours

The update says the virus can spread more than six feet under certain conditions.

Updated: October 5, 2020 - 6:54pm

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The CDC said Monday that the coronavirus can spread from tiny, airborne particles, adding to earlier guidance about it spreading only through respiratory droplets. 

The new update also stated evidence shows that the virus can spread through airborne particles to people who are more than six feet apart under certain conditions. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets, not from the airborne particles.

"Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours," the CDC website states. "These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation."

The CDC referenced people who breathe heavily in situations such as singing or exercising. 

Last month, the agency's website acknowledged the role airborne particles play in the transmission process, but soon after deleted the update and claimed it was posted in error.

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