U.S. COVID-19 death toll nears 200,000, CDC revises guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that it made a mistake when it posted guidance citing “growing evidence” that COVID-19 is airborne, saying “we weren’t ready to put it up.”
2:27 | 09/21/20

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Transcript for U.S. COVID-19 death toll nears 200,000, CDC revises guidance
Now to the coronavirus here in the U.S., as this country is set to mark that awful milestone, 200,000 lives lost now. The president saying, "I deserve an a-plus." And the CDC with another major reversal after quietly posting growing evidence that the virus can also be spread by tiny particles in the air. By midday today, that evidence was taken down, that guidance. The CDC saying it was only a draft. ABC's Steve osunsami at the CDC tonight. Reporter: It's heartbreaking scientists at Johns Hopkins university are reporting this evening that nearly 200,000 Americans have now lost their lives to the coronavirus. The president today in a phone interview says his response has mostly been very good. On public relations, I give myself a "D." On the job itself, we take an "A-plus." Reporter: Joe Biden was in Wisconsin today giving the president failing grades. He failed to act. He panicked. And America has paid the worst price of any nation in the world. Reporter: Today, the flip-flop of information from the CDC continued, which isn't helping people trust this important agency. On Friday, they finally acknowledged what some scientists have been arguing for months, posting updated guidelines saying that tiny droplets with the virus can travel more than six feet in certain settings, like choir practices, restaurants or gyms with limited ventilation. We've known for months that covid is transmitted when people cough or sneeze, but also when they talk and breathe. And through air sols. Reporter: This afternoon, the CDC took it all back, saying this was "Posted in error." And I apologize on behalf of CDC for that. We weren't ready to put it up. Reporter: The qualify of information from these agencies becomes more important as the weather gets colder. The number of cases is growing in 29 states and the island of Puerto Rico. The American people rely on the CDC for clear gguidance, and this flip-flopping, which clearly is about political interference and the scientific process, I think makes it much harder for Americans to know what the right things are, what they need to do to keep themselves safe. Reporter: It's not clear when scientists here at the CDC are going to public these updated guidelines on this issue, but experts say this helps make the point that it really doesn't matter if it's six feet or 16 feet where these tiny droplets spread. They believe the best suggestion is for people to always wear masks indoors. David? All right, Steve osunsami with us again tonight. Thank you, Steve.

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

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