6 COVID-19 updates for ASCs: transmission, vaccine and more

The federal government is continually reviewing and updating guidance on COVID-19 as the number of cases and deaths escalates in the U.S.

Here are six recent updates from the CDC and FDA on COVID-19, transmission and vaccines:

1. The number of COVID-19 related deaths has exceeded 200,000 in the U.S., and several professional healthcare associations are calling for additional measures to prevent the spread.

2. On Sept. 18, the CDC website updated guidance to say COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets or aerosols released when individuals cough, sneeze, sing, talk or breathe. However, on Sept. 21, the guidance was removed midday from the CDC website because it was a draft version of proposed changes, posted in error, according to the CDC. An official from the CDC told CNN that aerosol transmission can occur but isn't the primary mode of transmission.

3. The FDA will issue stricter emergency authorization requirements for a COVID-19 vaccine to include requiring manufacturers to follow participants in late-stage clinical trials for at least two months, according to a report from The Washington Post. The updates would make it more challenging to release a vaccine before the presidential election.

4. The CDC initially reported asymptomatic individuals exposed to COVID-19 don't always need to be tested on Sept. 18, but reversed that decision to clarify that anyone exposed to COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes should be tested.

5. The federal government plans to distribute vaccines to healthcare workers and other high-priority individuals during the final three months of 2020, according to The New York Times. The vaccine would be distributed within 24 hours of emergency authorization and be administered at no cost. On Sept. 23, Bloomberg reported HHS shifted $6 billion from the national stockpile to the federal government's program to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

6. On Sept. 17, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said COVID-19 would be under control in six to 12 weeks if all Americans wore masks.

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