With every reversal of Covid-19 guidance, the CDC is losing the battle for public trust

The coronavirus pandemic lays bare how scientific research can be used as a political tool. 

Over the past few days, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revised and then re-revised its guidance on whether the novel coronavirus can be spread by airborne transmission. On Sept. 18, the agency updated language on its website to state that the virus can spread across distances further than six feet via airborne transmission, especially in poorly ventilated indoor areas. Just three days later, it deleted this reference. The CDC website now states that it is updating recommendations on airborne transmission, and the agency told Quartz the update was published “without appropriate in-house technical review.”

In the scientific community, it’s widely established that the coronavirus does indeed spread this way. The World Health Organization acknowledged the airborne spread of particles in July and hundreds of scientists have written about this form of contagion.

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