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Dr. Fauci Says This Is How Long COVID Is Airborne

Coronavirus can linger in the air longer than you think.

Earlier this fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally confirmed what health experts have been warning about for months: that COVID-19 is in fact airborne. During the National Academy of Medicine's virtual event, "Confronting Urgent Threats to Human Health & Society: Covid-19 and Climate Change," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, discussed how the virus can linger in the air, how long it can stay there and effectively infect others, and what should be done to prevent it from happening. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

How Long is COVID Airborne?

Dr. Fauci first pointed out that coronavirus is "a respiratory borne virus spread by respiratory droplets." However, he added that it also has the potential for airborne spread. 

He added that "most recently it has become clear that aerosols, namely particles small enough to be able to stay in the air for periods of time" were also able to spread the virus, revealing that the particles could linger anywhere "ranging from multiple seconds to multiple minutes and even longer, particularly indoors when there isn't adequate dispersion," he said. 

He also added that due to both types of spread—airborne and person-to-person—an infected individual could spread the virus without even a cough or sneeze. "Risk of transmission varies by the type and duration of exposure, including factors such as viral load," he added.  

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

The CDC Confirms COVID is Airborne

"CDC continues to believe, based on current science, that people are more likely to become infected the longer and closer they are to a person with COVID-19," the CDC wrote in an update earlier this month, explaining that it reflects "the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with COVID-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the COVID-19-positive person left an area." 

"In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise. Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles," they added. 

"When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets. These droplets can range in size from larger droplets (some of which are visible) to smaller droplets. Small droplets can also form particles when they dry very quickly in the airstream," the guidance now reads. 

"Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space," it says. With that in mind, protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah