The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday revised guidelines about how the coronavirus spreads, removing language from its website that said the virus spreads through tiny, airborne particles that can linger in the air.
In a statement posted online, officials said a draft of proposed changes to the CDC’s recommendations was published on the agency’s website by mistake. Officials said the process to update guidelines was ongoing.
“Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted,” the notice said.
According to the CDC, the novel coronavirus is spread predominantly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets that can land in the mouths or noses of nearby people.
On Friday, new guidance posted online added that tiny particles known as aerosols also could transmit the virus, The Wall Street Journal reported. Officials recommended that people use air purifiers to clear indoor air of potential airborne germs, and warned that particles could be spread further than six feet, according to Reuters.
An unidentified CDC official told The Washington Post Monday that the guidance was removed because “that does not reflect our current state of knowledge.”
In August, World Health Organization officials advised people to delay routine dental cleanings amid the pandemic and pointed to the possibility that the virus could spread through airborne particles. On Monday, WHO officials told Reuters that they continue to monitor “emerging evidence” about possible aerosol transmission.
The United States leads the world with the most coronavirus cases and the highest death toll. Since the start of the pandemic, officials have confirmed more than 6.8 million infections and reported more than 199,000 deaths nationwide, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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