The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that people can be infected with the coronavirus through the air, especially in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
The CDC’s update represents an official decision from the agency that people can be infected through tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours.
- “Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. 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.”
- “This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and is an important way that infections like tuberculosis, measles, and chicken pox are spread.”
The CDC said people can infect someone who was more than 6 feet away through airborne transmission, too.
- “These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.”
The CDC’s guidelines said at the time that airborne droplets can remain in the air for hours, and they can be inhaled through the nose, mouth, airways and lungs.
- The CDC 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).”