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CDC acknowledges airborne transmission

A woman wearing a mask runs past the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 11, one year after the pandemic was officially declared. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)
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Federal health officials revised coronavirus guidance on Friday to acknowledge that people can get infected by inhaling very fine, aerosolized particles carrying the virus, following warnings from health experts since last year.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that airborne transmission is one of several ways the virus can spread, adding that people more than six feet away from others indoors can become infected, according to the agency’s website.

Epidemiologists have pushed for worldwide recognition that the virus can be transmitted by inhalation, saying improved ventilation and other airborne-specific mitigation measures could curb outbreaks.

Here are some significant developments:

  • India on Friday reported 414,188 new cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, a global record. Over the same period, 3,915 deaths were reported.
  • A World Health Organization panel on Friday authorized China’s Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use.
  • Public Health England on Friday declared a coronavirus variant widespread in India a “variant of concern” for England and Wales.
  • Public health experts expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to grant an emergency authorization as soon as next week for 12- to 15-year-olds to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
  • President Biden’s support for easing patent protection for coronavirus vaccines is unlikely to quickly boost the supply of doses, experts say.
  • Pressure is mounting to call off the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to begin in July. Japan on Friday broadened a state of emergency as it grapples with a fourth wave of infections.

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