The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on its website to say the novel coronavirus is most commonly transmitted “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.”
“These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection,” the site now says. “This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Previously, the CDC website said that COVID-19 most often spreads between people who are in close contact with one another — within about 6 feet — “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.” The page was updated Friday.
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the site now says. “In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”
The World Health Organization acknowledged in July that the novel coronavirus could spread through the air, after hundreds of scientists called for the global health arm of the United Nations to recognize the risk of airborne transmission.
ABC News’ Eric Strauss contributed to this report.