The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now saying COVID-19 can "sometimes be spread by airborne transmission." So what does this new guidance mean to you and me?

The CDC says:

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.

Essentially this tends to happen in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily. Like they were singing or exercising. In cases like this the CDC believes that the infectious droplets and particles produced by a person with the coronavirus become concentrated enough that they then spread to other people. The people infected were in the same space at the same time as the infected person, or soon after the infected person had left.

The CDC's current guidance still suggests that the most common way to become infected with the coronavirus is direct contact with a carrier who is less than six feet away from you. This is why the CDC recommends the wearing of face masks when social distancing can't be observed. And avoiding crowds in indoor environments where social distancing can't be observed.

Updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found here.

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