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What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, September 22

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly dropped new guidance from its website about airborne transmission of the coronavirus yesterday, just days after publishing it.

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Ivana Kottasová
CNN — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly dropped new guidance from its website about airborne transmission of the coronavirus yesterday, just days after publishing it.

The agency said a draft version was posted in error, before it had gone through the normal review process, and reverted to its previous guidance, which does not mention airborne transmission.

The back and forth by America's top health authority is confusing and worrying. Scientists have been calling for the risk of airborne transmission to be recognized by health authorities.

Evidence shows the virus is primarily spread through droplets that come out of people's mouths and noses. Large droplets fall onto surfaces rapidly and can be picked up on fingers and carried to the eyes, nose or mouth. That's why it's important people don't touch their faces and wash their hands regularly.

But there is now more evidence that smaller-sized droplets can remain in the air in the form of aerosol particles which can be inhaled. Several international health authorities have already acknowledged this way of transmission, stressing the need to wear masks.

The World Health Organization said that while the main way the coronavirus spreads is through droplets, there is a risk that people who are in a small indoor area with poor ventilation can become infected through aerosol-based transmission. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has a similar view, saying that while the main method of coronavirus transmission is likely via large droplets, transmission is also possible through aerosols, which they refer to as short-range airborne transmission.

A federal official familiar with the situation told CNN the guidance is "getting revised," but didn't say when the update would be posted to the CDC website.

Researchers and doctors said they were glad to see CDC was expected to acknowledge airborne transmission, but some worried the back and forth could cause more confusion about how the virus spreads and what measures will reduce the risk.


Q: Should we clean our cell phones daily?

A: Yes, that's a good idea because cell phones are basically "petri dishes in our pockets" when you think about how many surfaces you touch before touching your phone.

"There's probably quite a lot of microorganisms on there, because you're holding them against your skin, you are handling them all the time, and also you're speaking into them," said Mark Fielder, a professor of medical microbiology at Kingston University.

Watch the best ways to disinfect your cell phone here.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you're facing: +1 347-322-0415.


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