Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the guidance from health officials and experts focused mainly on avoiding contact with other people. Calls of "six feet apart" and "stay safe stay home" were constantly coming from those with authority.
On Tuesday, however, Biden's Covid czar Dr. Ashish Jha admitted that social distancing is "not the right way to think about" mitigating the spread of the virus, saying that other factors, such as air quality, play a larger role than previously thought.
"There's a really new way of thinking about who is gonna get infected," Jha began.
"We used to spend a lot of time talking about 'six feet of distance,' 'fifteen minutes of being together,' but we realize that's actually not the right way to think about this. That's not the most accurate way to think about this."
Jha went on to explain that when it comes to the COVID-19 virus, particularly the "very contagious sub-variants," is "really about the quality of air you're breathing around you."
"In a crowded indoor space with poor ventilation, you can get infected within minutes," Jha said, adding that "if you're outdoors, with ... good ventilation, you can be outside for long periods of time and not get infected."
"Context matters, crowds matter, ventilation matters," Jha concluded, noting that it marked a "major new update in the CDC guidance."
On Thursday, the CDC eased its Covid guidelines, most notably doing away with the recommendation to stay six feet away from others.
"We know Covid-19 is here to stay," said CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti. "High levels of population immunity due to vaccination and previous infection, and the many tools that we have available to protect people from severe illness and death have put us in a different place."
Many areas of the country had long foregone social distancing measures, however the announcement by the CDC marks a major shift in the agency's official stance on combatting the virus.
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