(NEW YORK) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday walked back on prior claims regarding how COVID-19 is spread, which cited “growing evidence” that the novel coronavirus is airborne.
The new guidance — which was quietly deleted — issued new data regarding how long the virus remains in the air after a person coughs or sneezes.
The CDC on Friday wrote, “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). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.” That post was removed Monday, with the organization saying it was erroneously posted and that it was only a draft.
The White House has not commented on the matter and the CDC has yet to post updated guidance.
Critics of the Trump administration are using this latest head-scratcher as proof that the White House is trying to politicize the CDC and undermine its credibility. This comes after CDC director Robert Redfield and President Donald Trump offered conflicting outlooks as to when a COVID-19 vaccine would be made available — with the president touting one by November and Redfield saying one won’t come until mid-2021.
The president last week downplayed Redfield’s statement, saying he made a “mistake” with his timeline.
The confusion over at the CDC has prompted health experts to urge for a national and unified strategy to combat the virus, versus the current “whack-a-mole” plan of attack.
According to a report by AIDS and Behavior, which interviewed university experts on health on how to wrangle the pandemic.
Dr. David Holtgrave, Dean of the School of Public Health of the University at Albany, warned, “It is really important to have a comprehensive plan for the nation in place as quickly as possible. And that plan should be one that’s comprehensive and also rooted in the best evidence and science that we possibly can use.”