A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that it erroneously posted guidance that said the coronavirus spreads through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.

“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,” the CDC said. “CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”

Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization said it contacted the CDC about the guidance change. 

The WHO had not seen any “new evidence” on airborne particles and was checking with the CDC to “better understand” the exact nature of the change, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said during a news conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters.

The WHO has said Covid-19 primarily spreads through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughs, sneezes or breathes. Studies have shown that the new coronavirus could spread through aerosols in the air, and the WHO has said it is monitoring “emerging evidence” of possible airborne transmission.

The international agency’s position “on this remains the same,” Ryan said, “and we’ve always said going back over months and months about the potential for different kinds of roots of transmission and particularly driven by the context, the proximity, the intensity, the duration and the potential for different forms of transmission.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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