With COVID-19’s one year anniversary coming up, we have had a chance to collectively learn a lot about the virus and its impacts, but we also still have so much to learn.
This includes the way that the virus is spread, which has been a constant area of research and attention for obvious reasons.
On Sunday, September 20, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised their website saying that COVID can spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols,” which means that these particles can spread even when a person is only breathing. Shortly after, the CDC went back on this change and returned to their previous guidelines stating that it only spreads through speaking, coughing and sneezing.
This is a significant difference because if it’s not just the droplets that are dangerous but the general air, then this raises the significance of distancing even more. I believe this because the masks help catch the droplets but staying away from people would help keep everybody’s air pure. I have always felt this way throughout the pandemic because masks will help, but if you’re constantly on top of other people, you’re most likely going to still get the virus.
That is how I would feel if the CDC had kept their changes but they went back to their previous statement. I thought this was a very odd move in messaging at such a sensitive time for many people in our country. I truly believe that the CDC should absolutely be certain about things like this before they change their guidelines because it will cause unnecessary panic and concern.
They did, however, go on to say that regular breathing is a way that it can spread but not the primary way of spreading. This is a little worrying but this language makes me think that they are still very much looking into this and that it isn’t something to worry too much about.
I also believe that it’s especially important that the CDC has clear messaging during this time because I constantly see people online voicing distrust in the CDC and thinking that they have political agendas. When things like this happen, it causes these people to think that their distrust is warranted. This concerns me because I think we should all be trusting the CDC right now because they are the ones constantly doing the research about the virus.
I also must say that I am very much glad that this revision did not stay because it is quite concerning, especially as we reach cold and flu season. I understand that the CDC is working extensively to get the general public as much information as possible to combat the virus but they need to be absolutely consistent with their messaging at, possibly, the most important time in their existence. Overall, this whole situation was a little harmful in terms of relaying information and I think the CDC needs to do better in the future.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted at: