“It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes,” the CDC says on its website.
“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),” the guidance continues.
“Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread.”
The CDC earlier said the illness was believed to spread mainly between people in close contact — about 6 feet — and “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks,” according to CNN. The old guidance did not mention breathing.
The agency also added new measures about protecting yourself and others.
Previously, it recommended maintaining “good social distance” of about 6 feet, washing hands, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and using a face mask when around others.
The updated guidance says to “stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible,” and continues to urge people to wear a mask and frequently clean and disinfect.
But it also says people should stay home and isolate when sick, and “use air purifiers to help reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces.”
The CDC also changed its language about asymptomatic transmission — from saying that “some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus” to now saying that “people who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others.”