US CDC updates guidelines on testing asymptomatic people

The US has been hard hit by COVID-19 reporting about 6.7 million cases and about 193,000 deaths since the pandemic began

'You Need a Test': CDC Reverses Guidance for Asymptomatic COVID Contacts

The website has been changed back to their previous guidance which states COVID-19 is believed to be transferred through larger droplets through close contact, closer than six feet, with a person who coughs, sings, or otherwise expels these larger droplets carrying the virus.

According to the CDC, these particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection.

Despite several studies that have shown the novel coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air, the CDC page now says that Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly between people in close contact - about 6 feet - and "through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks". "In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk", the CDC stated on Friday in a post that has since been taken down.

The CDC has reversed its stance on whether the coronavirus is airborne, days after it warned that the virus spreads most commonly through the air and is more contagious than the agency had previously suggested.

The World Health Organization in July acknowledged that the coronavirus may linger in the air, after more more than 200 scientists urged the agency to revisit the research and revise its position.

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People who do not have symptoms and are not close contacts of an infected person still do not need a screening, unless it is recommended by a medical provider or public health official, according to the latest CDC statement.

While the CDC has not called for any new action to address the airborne threat of a virus that has now killed almost 200,000 Americans, experts said the change should help to shift policy and public behavior. "This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads".

Earlier in the week, CDC Director Robert Redfield told Congress that face masks were "more guaranteed to protect" against the virus than the vaccine, which he said wouldn't be available until late in 2021.

Various scientists had earlier spoken about the viral transmission of the coronavirus.

One of the lead authors of the letter, Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland who studies how viruses are transmitted, told CNN Sunday that the CDC's new language was a "major improvement".

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The role that aerosol transmission plays in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 is extremely important.

"There have been reported outbreaks of Covid-19 in some closed settings, such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking, or singing", the global health body says.

Friday's reversal added more fodder to a snowballing story regarding political interference with the CDC.

The change should drive people to adopt concrete solutions to slowing airborne transmission, Jimenez said, such as wearing more tightly fitting masks, improving ventilation and keeping as much distance as possible from others when indoors.

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