CDC: Risk for catching coronavirus from surfaces is low

CDC: risk for catching coronavirus from surfaces is low

The risk for catching the new coronavirus from surfaces is low, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week in what some experts say is a long overdue announcement.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were widespread warnings that people could become infected by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth, which led many people and businesses to take extraordinary cleaning measures and precautions. But in updated surface cleaning guidelines, the CDC says the risk for contracting the virus from a contaminated surface is less than 1 in 10,000, The New York Times reported.

"People can be affected with the virus that causes COVID-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., said at a White House briefing on Monday. "However, evidence has demonstrated that the risk by this route of infection of transmission is actually low."

"Finally," Linsey Marr, Ph.D., an airborne expert at Virginia Tech, told The Times. "We've known this for a long time, and yet people are still focusing so much on surface cleaning." Marr added that there is "really no evidence that anyone has ever gotten COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface."

In most cases, cleaning with soap and water—in addition to hand-washing and mask-wearing—is enough to keep the odds of transmission low, according to the updated cleaning guidelines from the CDC. Still, the guidelines do suggest that if someone who has COVID-19 has been in a particular space within the last day, the area should be both cleaned and disinfected.

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