Scientists across the world have been saying for months that the coronavirus (COVID-19) travels distances through the air. The CDC finally acknowledged that Sept. 18 but then abruptly retracted that recognition. This is a total and blatant disregard for science and keeps workers from getting the protections we need.
This is yet another example of how the Trump administration’s agencies, tasked with protecting us during a pandemic, have bowed to political pressure from industry insiders instead of following overwhelming scientific data.
Early in the pandemic, many scientists and Labor safety and health experts had identified airborne transmission as the major reason the virus rapidly spread through workplaces and the reason workers continue to become sick. Airborne transmission means we need strong, comprehensive workplace protections that go beyond simple distancing and include personal protective equipment and cleaning recommendations.
This recognition of airborne transmission also highlights the importance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issuing an infectious disease standard, which industry groups like the American Hospital Association have been fighting for months.
Working families deserve the best protections available, and it’s tragic that we have the science available to provide this, but political pressure continues to lead to the loss of lives and livelihoods.