COVID-19: Virus spreads mainly through air, says new report from U.S. agency

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance saying the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to spread mainly through the air, not by touching a contaminated surface.

The U.S. agency says the latest evidence indicates the virus spreads mainly by close contact between people. It can be spread when someone who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes within six feel (1.8 metres) of another person, said the guidance issued Sept. 18.

“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). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”

Airborne virus spreads easily between people, said the guidance.

“Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. The virus that causes COVID-19 appears to spread more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious. In general, the more closely a person with COVID-19 interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.”