The CDC is grossly exaggerating the outdoor Covid-19 transmission risk claiming there is 10% chance of infection, when in reality its less than 1%, according to health experts.
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Dr. Muge Cevik, a top infectious disease doctor in Scotland, told the New York Times that the higher federal figure “seems to be a huge exaggeration,”
Dr. Aaron Richterman from Pennsylvania said, “I’m sure it’s possible for transmission to occur outdoors in the right circumstances. But if we had to put a number on it, I would say much less than 1 percent.”
“Saying that less than 10 percent of Covid transmission occurs outdoors is akin to saying that sharks attack fewer than 20,000 swimmers a year. (The actual worldwide number is around 150.) It’s both true and deceiving,” The Times wrote.
At issue is the research cited by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in touting its outdoor transmission statistic, which put the figure at a murky and allegedly too high “less than 10 percent.”
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Discussions about outdoor transmission risk in a nutshell:— Muge Cevik (@mugecevik) March 4, 2021
Actual risk of transmission outdoors vs. attention paid to it pic.twitter.com/DsaQ3KlcSz
The figure is key because the agency has used it to justify its current coronavirus safety recommendations to the public, which include vaccinated people still wearing masks at “large public venues’’ and the unvaccinated using the face gear in most outdoor settings.
The figure for research was mainly pulled from cases at construction sites in Singapore, the Times said.
Yet a rep with the country’s Ministry of Health said, “We didn’t classify [the transmission of such cases] according to outdoors or indoors.”
“It could have been workplace transmission where it happens outdoors at the site or it could also have happened indoors within the construction site,’’ the Singapore government spokesman told the Times.
One of the researchers told Times, “We had to settle on one classification for building sites” — indoor or outdoor — “and ultimately decided on a conservative outdoor definition.”
The CDC responded to the Times in a statement, “There are limited data on outdoor transmission.”
“The data we do have supports the hypothesis that the risk of outdoor transmission is low. 10 percent is a conservative estimate from a recent systemic review of peer-reviewed papers.”
“It is important for people and communities to consider their own situations and risks and to take appropriate steps to protect their health.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Chief of the agency was grilled about the figure and statistics.
The agency’s 10 percent figure “is almost certainly misleading,” Collins told Walensky.
She said such behavior by the CDC matters “because it undermines public confidence in your recommendations.”
Walensky said the figure came from a highest-limit result from a story that was published in Journal of Infectious Disease.
“The topline result was less than 10 percent, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, one of our top infectious disease journals,” she said.
“That is where that came from, it was from a published study that synthesized studies from many places.”
Meanwhile, officers from the specialized verticals of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), a programme of the US CDC will reach India soon. The main objective of these EIS officers also referred to as Disease Detectives is to carry out COVID-19 surveillance in India and advice the government on future action.
The EIS arose from biological warfare concerns relating to the Korean War. What is of concern is that the CDC was banned by the Indian government in late 2019 for secretly funding bioweapons research in India.