The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday withdrew its statement from three days ago on how COVID-19 can spread through aerosolized droplets, saying it was posted "in error."
On Friday, the CDC posted an update to its website saying the virus can be transmitted through tiny, aerosolized droplets that are "produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes."
Such passage of the virus would entail a distance greater than the 2-meter space generally accepted as medically proper social distancing between people to avoid transmitting the disease. It is a view that outside health experts have been advancing.
But on Monday the CDC dropped any mention of airborne transmission, saying that "a draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency's official website." Instead, it said the possibility of recommendations on dealing with airborne transmission of the virus are under review.
The agency reverted to its previous message, saying that the virus is thought to spread "between people who are in close contact with one another," a distance of about 2 meters.
An agency official said the Friday guidelines were removed because they did "not reflect our current state of knowledge."
The website mistake was the agency's latest in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and came on the same day as the United States neared 200,000 deaths from the virus, the most of any country in the world.
The CDC recently had reversed its guidance on whether asymptomatic people should be tested for the coronavirus to now say anyone should be tested if they have come in contact with someone known to have been infected.