Scientists urge Biden Administration to update CDC guidelines for COVID-19

Push to acknowledge danger of aerosol transmission
Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 21:47:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A group of scientists is urging the Biden Administration to update the CDC guidelines on COVID-19. Two of the scholars are from UC San Diego, and they said that the agency needs to recognize that aerosol particles are the primary source of transmission.

In a letter to the Biden administration, 13 scientists said the government must immediately update COVID-19 regulations for people in the workplace. It all starts with acknowledging that the spread of COVID is happening at the microscopic level.

"We wrote this letter to put inhalation front and center," Dr. Don Milton of the University of Maryland said in an online press conference Wednesday morning.

Currently, the CDC's website shows that COVID-19 spreads most commonly during close contact through larger "respiratory droplets." If you scroll down, it says it can "sometimes" be spread by "airborne transmission." But the scientists said it is much more prevalent than that.

"Inhaling these small particles is a major way people are infected," Dr. Milton said.

They are asking the Administration to mirror Germany, Austria, and France's new policies, which mandate the use of N-95 masks to all healthcare workers, not just those in the COVID unit, as well as high-risk workers in confined spaces, such as bus drivers and food processing workers.

"Workers are not being offered the kind of protection they need," Dr. Lisa Brosseau with the University of Minnesota said.

The letter also urged the government to update OSHA workplace standards on ventilators, respirators, and masks. Then use the Defense Production Act to organize a national production and distribution network. Lastly, they want the CDC to create a clear face-covering standard for the public.

"Filterability, wearability, and fit that the public will be able to judge the quality of mask they are buying Robert Schooley with UC San Diego said.

UCSD professor Kim Prather said the government needs to act now.

"When people are asked, 'Why aren't you using this?" They say 'We are following the CDC guidelines,' and they are not adequate right now," Dr. Prather said. "So that's not ok. If we really want to end this pandemic, we have to acknowledge that this virus is spreading through the air, or we are just going to keep yo-yoing back-and-forth."

When asked about double masking, the scientists said it is most important to find one well-fitted mask with low breathing resistance and high filtration efficiency.