CDC redefines 'close contact' to include multiple brief encounters

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The United States is facing an extremely alarming trend in its battle with COVID-19 as cases multiply across most of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

Under previous CDC advisories, "close contact" was defined as someone who spent 15 consecutive minutes or more within 6 feet of an infected individual.

"Unfortunately we're seeing a distressing trend here in the United States with COVID-19 cases increasing in almost 75 per cent of the country", Jay Butler, the health body's number two infectious disease expert, warned during a news briefing.

However, now the CDC says that 15-minute time frame doesn't need to be consecutive.

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By race and ethnicity, the percentage increase in deaths was especially high among Hispanic and African Americans, confirming reports that minority groups were at a higher risk.

Researchers noted that the study, tracing transmission among people in a Vermont correctional facility, once again once again confirms that wearing masks is still a priority for staying safe from the virus and reducing the risks of transmission, noting that between individuals who tested positive there were instances of being in close contact with at least one of the parties not having their masks on for brief periods. The next day, all six inmates received positive test results. Close contact, in addition to being within six feet, can also include sharing eating or drinking utensils, hugging, kissing, providing home care to someone infected or if someone were to sneeze or cough on you.

Over an eight-hour shift, those brief encounters added up to about 17 minutes total. The video showed that the officer had spent just about a minute at a time within 6 feet of prisoners who were later revealed to be presymptomatic. At least one of the positive IDPs during the brief encounters was asymptomatic, the CDC stated. At times, the prisoners wore masks, but there were encounters in cell doorways or in a recreational room where prisoners did not have them on, according to a report on the case published Wednesday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "And clarifying that new science, that new data into our contact recommendations, is what you're alluding to". The correctional officer wore a cloth mask, gown and goggles during all interactions, and gloves for most interactions.

"The more time you spend with someone" who is infected with COVID-19, Schaffner said, "the more likely you are to get infected".

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