‘Viruses don’t know any lines': 6 feet should be minimum, health expert says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many expressed confusion about how COVID- 19 is spread after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention retracted the updates it made to its guidelines Monday.

The CDC said a draft was accidentally posted to its website last Friday that had not been fully edited.

That draft suggested the virus can hang in the air and spread over an extended distance -- beyond 6 feet.

Dr. Pauline Rolle, the director of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, said the conflicting information is concerning.

“Anytime we put something out and we have to retract it, there is always concern about public trust,” Rolle said. “But I think it is going to be important … going forward to explain to people what the facts are.”

Rolle said the World Health Organization suggested months ago that airborne transmission could be a way of the virus spreading.

“Unfortunately, we have not emphasized that, and I am hoping the CDC will come out with new guidelines in a couple weeks,” Rolles said. “You know, errors occur we are not sure of all of the details, but I am sure this has caused some concern on parts of the public.”

Rolle said the facts are what we’ve already heard for the last several months from the CDC:

COVID- 19 is most commonly spread by someone not wearing a mask who sneezes, coughs talks or even sings to the point that large droplets are released into the air and someone close to that person not wearing a mask can catch the virus.

She also cautions against taking a hard line on a specific distance.

“For the viewers that have seen me, I always say a minimum of 6 feet. But folks have taken that as a hard line, and viruses don’t know any lines,” Rolle said.

Which is why Rolle said the 6-foot rule should be considered a minimum, especially if no one is wearing masks.