Doctor: CDC exaggerating risk of outdoor transmission of COVID-19

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the risk of an outdoor COVID-19 infection could be as high as 10%.

But, reports are circulating the actual number is much lower. In fact, evidence shows it could be less than 0.1%.

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Dr. Cole Beeler, infectious disease specialist at IU Health, told News 8 that while 10% is possible, the federal agency’s estimation is grossly misleading. The vast majority of evidence argues against that number.

“One out of every 10 transmissions happening outside? That seems a lot to me and I don’t really buy it,” he said. “The more data that is coming out really suggests the outdoor environment is not as risky as the indoor environment. So, looking at all the studies … the median is a lot lower than that 10%.”

Beeler says the CDC might be standing behind this number out of precaution, to encourage more people to get vaccinated, and as a reminder the pandemic is not over. But, Beeler says, this could backfire. Mixed messaging is the No. 1 reason people remain vaccine hesitant and this is just one more example of it.


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