CDC redefines COVID-19 ‘close contact’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention redefined “close contact” with someone with COVID-19 to include briefer, but repeated encounters adding up to 15 minutes over a 24-hour period.
3:12 | 10/21/20

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Transcript for CDC redefines COVID-19 ‘close contact’
Of course, one of the key issues tomorrow night is expected to be the coronavirus here in this country, with numbers worsening across much of the nation. And tonight, the CDC is out with new guidance on close contact with an infected person. What you need to know. And it comes as these new cases rapidly reach an average of about 60,000 new cases a day. And remember, Dr. Fauci has repeatedly said that we needed to be at about 10,000 cases a day as we head into fall to avoid a devastating second wave. And so ABC's whit Johnson tonight on these new guidelines, on how little time, how little exposure you can have, and still get this. Reporter: Tonight, a new CDC study finding that even multiple brief exposures within six feet in a 24-hour period may increase the risk of covid-19 transmission. Until now, health officials had said you can contract the virus if you spend at least 15 minutes within close proximity of an infected person. Today, in a rare briefing in Atlanta, CDC doctors urging Americans not to let their guard down. I recognize that we are all getting tired of the impact that covid-19 has had on our lives. We get tired of wearing masks. But it continues to be as important as it's ever been. Reporter: Researchers at children's hospital of Philadelphia out with a new dire warning, forecasting a "Continued deteriorating situation" throughout the mountain states and midwest if distancing and mask wearing doesn't improve. I want to remind everyone, mask up, Illinois. Reporter: The governor of Illinois shutting down indoor dining at restaurants and bars in some Chicago suburbs. In Wisconsin today, a new record -- 48 deaths. And in Ohio, another record -- more than 2,300 cases in a single day. We have tamped down this curve in the past. We just need to do it again. Reporter: Hospitalizations climbing in 41 states. In Boston, following a surge in the positivity rate, the school district again putting plans on hold to ramp up in-person learning. And tonight, an June date on the timetable for a vaccine. The chief adviser of operation warp speed telling our Bob woodruff he hopes one or more vaccines will be widely available in the spring, meaning everyone could be immunized by the summer. It's a plan. It's not a certainty. But the plan should make it such that by June, everybody could have been immunized in the usa. Really, this coming June? Yeah. Everybody? We could all get it? We would have enough vaccine doses. I hope most people will take the We'll see in the months ahead. Whit Johnson with us live tonight from Boston. And whit, I wanted to get back to that new guidance from the CDC when it comes to close contact with someone who is infected. For some time, they had said it was 15 minutes of exposure. Now it appears they're saying it can be multiple shorter exposures adding up to 15 minutes over 24 hours. Reporter: And David, for example, it doesn't need to be someone who sits right next to you at work or at school. It can simply be someone you pass in the hallways, multiple times per day. As long as it adds up to 15 minutes in 24 hours, you could be at a higher risk. David? Really important to keep this in mind as Americans come back indoors. Whit Johnson, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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