October 5th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its webpage to acknowledge that, yes, people can become infected with COVID through airborne transmission, particularly in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
Wait. Isn’t this what we’ve been hearing for months? Yes. But this website update is the CDC’s official acknowledgement, based on current findings, that people can become infected through tiny airborne particles that can linger in the air for minutes or hours. And that this can happen even when people are more than six feet apart.
Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease department with the Minnesota Department of Health, said airborne transmission has been an essential part of their messaging.
“We’ve been aware that this is the potential. And we’ve been looking at situations in light of the potential for airborne transmission. It’s good to have this on the CDC website and it reinforces some of the messages that we’ve been giving. The one thing that I will mention is that the circumstances in which they really saw this type of transmission being more of an issue were in close spaces with inadequate ventilation, with crowding. That type of thing,” said Ehresmann.
So how can we protect ourselves when meeting with people beyond our close circle of daily contacts? Because ventilation is important, it’s been suggested to open doors and windows when inside or, if possible, move the gathering outdoors. Portable air filter units can also be used inside.
The CDC continues to recommend that people remain at least six feet apart and, if possible, avoid crowded indoor spaces.