The federal government did a quick pivot on the threat of the coronavirus spreading through the air, changing a key piece of guidance over the weekend.

On Sept. 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that tiny airborne particles, not just the bigger water droplets from a sneeze or cough, could infect others. It cited growing “evidence.”

By Sept. 21, that warning was gone from its website, with a note saying it had been posted in error and the CDC was in the process of updating its recommendations.

The move put the CDC in the middle of a debate over how the coronavirus infects people. Its guidelines could make the difference between restaurants, bars and other places where people gather fully

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