What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, September 22
Posted September 22, 2020 7:45 a.m. EDT
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.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
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.
WHAT'S IMPORTANT TODAY
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In Taiwan as a whole -- an island with a population of approximately 23 million people -- there have been around 500 confirmed cases and just 7 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Paula Hancocks reports.
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ON OUR RADAR
Three NFL coaches were fined $100,000 for not wearing face coverings during Sunday's games. Their teams were also fined $250,000 apiece.An official at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will "retire" after a news report identified him as the anonymous author of blog posts that disparaged Dr. Anthony Fauci and mocked the use of masks. The UK is expected to announce new measures to curb a surge in cases, including pubs and restaurants having to close at 10 p.m. An opera in Madrid was halted after audience members protested over concerns that seating was too crowded in the venue. A spike in cases pushed Canadian authorities to step up powers to limit large gatherings. A Chinese billionaire who criticized Xi Jinping's handling of the pandemic has been jailed for 18 years on corruption charges.Alitalia airline is now offering 'Covid-tested' flights where every single passenger has to confirm that they have tested negative for the virus.
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"This is a time for young people who are at lower risk for complications to really think about stepping up to volunteer." -- CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta
We're six weeks away from Election Day in the US, and voting may look very different this year. As the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation, it's not too early to start making a plan for how you're going to vote. In this episode, Gupta talks safety at the polls and mail-in ballots. Listen Now.