Local doctor wishes new CDC guidance on COVID spread came earlier

Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 19:42:38-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There was new guidance, Tuesday morning, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how the coronavirus can spread. This is the third change in less than a month.

"The CDC’s recent update is sort of an acknowledgment of work that has been done to demonstrate that there is a potential aerosol risk with this disease," says Dr. Joshua Santarpia, an associate professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

He says the CDC is now confirming that COVID-19 can be spread through airborne transmission.

"This is them following the science if you will," he says.

The guidance on the CDC’s website says the virus "may be able to infect people who are further than six feet away," especially, "within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation," and if someone is "breathing heavily while singing or exercising."

The Douglas County Health Department adds, "People are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19."

Less than a month ago, the CDC posted the change on its website but removed it.

Dr. Santarpia says it was frustrating, adding many doctors already knew airborne transmission plays a role in the spread of coronavirus.

"I’m of the opinion that if I know something, I’m going to put it out there and tell people to act with an abundance of caution,” he says. “If i turn out to be wrong later…they certainly haven't put themselves in any harm."

He adds there are many unknowns with the virus, saying it could take a long time to know just how COVID-19 impacts the body.

Santarpia also says mask-wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing are still the best practices to protect yourself from the virus.

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