SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday updated its coronavirus guidance page online to state that the virus can spread through “airborne transmission” to people who are more than 6 feet away, under certain circumstances.

The update on the CDC’s website comes after last month’s confusion in which the agency mistakenly posted a document online about airborne transmission, but took it down shortly afterward saying it was “posted in error.”

In Monday’s updated guidance, it reads that airborne transmission “sometimes” happens but that the virus “most commonly spreads” between people who are within 6 feet of each other.

According to the CDC, the danger of airborne transmission beyond 6 feet largely happens indoors, in poorly ventilated space, which is partly why outdoor activities are generally considered safer, the agency said.

“CDC continues to believe, based on current science, that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19,” the agency said in the updated guidance. “Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area. In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise.” 

To help protect yourself from airborne transmission, which occurs through smaller particles that can linger in the air, the CDC also advises you to avoid crowded indoor spaces and make sure those spaces are properly ventilated with as much outdoor air as possible.

“In general, being outdoors and in spaces with good ventilation reduces the risk of exposure to infectious respiratory droplets,” the CDC said.

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