The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance on its website to say coronavirus can commonly spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols,” which are produced even when a person breathes.
“Airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread,” the site now says.
Previously, the CDC page said that COVID-19 was 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.”
The page, updated Friday, still says COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another, and now says the virus is known to spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes.”
These particles can cause infection when “inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs,” it says. “This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Protect yourself and others
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can take steps to slow the spread.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Pandemics can be stressful. During times of increased physical distancing, it is still important to maintain social connections and care for your mental health.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. Masks should not replace other prevention measures.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Stay home and isolate from others when sick.
- Use air purifiers to help reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others.