When the COVID-19 pandemic began, public health officials advised the public to remain apart by a distance of six feet because the virus spreads through respiratory droplets. Warnings have recently been issued by three experts that a distance of six feet might not be enough. According to these experts, the airborne transmission must be taken seriously all over the world.
The Science journal recently published a commentary with experts stating regular testing is required to locate asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. These areas are where the people are wearing masks including Taiwan and Hong Kong. This has led to the control of the virus. The commentary also stated the guidance offered by the World Health Organization might not be enough for every type of situation.Read More »
As time passes, these droplets accumulate surpassing the suggested distance currently set at six feet. The three experts involved are specialists in infectious diseases and chemistry. They believe when people are talking or breathing indoors, the droplets emitted can be inhaled easily and make their way into the lungs. This means that even if the proper distance is being observed, wearing a face mask is essential. The focus of the United States CDC has been droplets resulting from sneezes and coughs.
These types of droplets do not remain in the air for lengthy periods. The CDC stated these droplets can land in the noses or mouths of nearby individuals with the potential for inhalation into the lungs. The CDC warns spreading the virus is more likely when a distance of six feet is not maintained. Respiratory droplets are much larger resulting in them falling to the ground. Aerosol droplets are small and remain in the air longer.
The focus of US health officials has been droplets. The experts believe the spread of COVID-19 is mostly occurring due to aerosol droplets being transmitted by individuals unaware they are infected while talking and breathing. Despite the obvious need for additional research and robust testing, it has become obvious people need to wear face coverings. The belief is society will be unable to function normally until the aerosol transmission is substantially decreased.
This will require implementation including wearing masks on a global basis and testing so infected individuals can be identified and isolated. For all of these reasons, the guidance regarding the transmission of COVID-19 was quietly changed by the CDC on Friday. During the following Monday, this guidance was changed once again. An update was posted by the CDC on its website on Friday stating a distance of six feet might not be enough to keep the population safe.
The update said the only way to slow down transmission indoors was through ventilation. This statement might be critical for schools because the desks have been placed six feet apart. The changes can also impact church services, restaurants and offices. There is now more evidence the airborne particles and droplets can remain in suspension in the air. When these droplets are breathed in by someone else, they are capable of moving well past the six feet recommendation.
The risk increases when good indoor ventilation is not provided. On Monday, the CDC website showed the previous information. According to the CDC, the information included proposed recommendations and changes posted in error. The CDC website included a note stating the current recommendations regarding the virus responsible for the coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 are being updated for airborne transmission. Updates are expected once the process is completed.
Despite the social connection between face masks and droplets, the most important concept is taking the steps necessary for the protection of individuals and their family. According to the most recent coronavirus updates, the death toll in the United States is close to 200K. Despite this, some of the students in New York have returned to school. According to previous CDC guidance still posted on its website, the pandemic is mainly spreading due to contact within six feet resulting in the spread of respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes.
Warnings have been issued by scientists for months claiming tiny aerosols can spread the pandemic because they spread farther and remain in the air for longer time periods than previously believed. This was acknowledged by the hundreds of scientists comprising the World Health Organization. The issue is when the CDC changed then reversed the information available on its website the result might result in public distrust and suspicion.
A professor of biostatistics and epidemiology located at the University of Arizona supports some of the information released in the new draft. The professor does not believe the virus can be stopped by face coverings or ventilation alone. In a tweet, the professor said the six-foot rule is not difficult to follow but there is no force-field in existence capable of preventing the virus from spreading further. This means several precautions must be taken simultaneously to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A statement was also made by a John Hopkins senior scholar regarding the unfortunate retraction of the CDC in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. The scholar believes the retracted statement required editing because it was not clear. Current data now shows under the right circumstances the virus has the potential to spread when individuals within six feet of each other cough, sneeze, talk or sing. This may or may not be the reason the infection continues to spread.
The chances are good the pandemic is spreading due to contact with an infected individual. No matter what the reason, more than six million individuals in the United States have been infected by coronavirus with the death toll in the country now close to 200,000.
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