New CDC guidance on 15 minutes of intermittent COVID exposure

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has new guidance clarifying what exactly “close contact” means when it comes to transmission of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The previous guidance suggested that a close contact occurred when a person was within six feet of an infectious individual for 15 consecutive minutes. The New CDC guidance on 15 minutes of COVID exposure acknowledges that even brief contact can lead to transmission.

Specifically, the new guidance suggests that those spending a total of 15 minutes of contact with an infectious person throughout a 24-hour period should be considered in close contact.

Despite the change, most public health professionals have been clear for months that there is nothing magic about six feet. In the same way, there is nothing magic about 15 minutes. These should be used as rough estimates to indicate the types of contact that are relatively higher risk.

October 30, 2020, CDC report, COVID-19 in a Correctional Facility Employee Following Multiple Brief Exposures to Persons with COVID-19 — Vermont, July–August 2020 Click here to read the report Note: the report can be difficult to read but worthwhile. Paragraphs are too long with too much information.

Link to a good PBS article with links

Note: Ryan Malosh, an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan, wrote this article. He allows free reprinting of the article.

My comments

The research is observational, with only one sample, a correctional officer, taken over time. But, the CDC is finally saying you can “accumulate” vaccine particles over time.

I have written about distances for months. I had heard about “accumulating” virus particles over time but had not seen a study.

I wrote about distancing in my August 28 blog post: Physical distancing – 3 ft. vs. 6 ft. vs. 13 ft. vs. ??? – new research

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