CDC: COVID-19 ‘Does Not Spread Easily’ by Touching Surfaces

By Sara Bondell - May 13, 2020

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) has updated its guidance to note COVID-19 “does not spread easily” by touching surfaces or objects.

The guidance says while it may be possible for a person get COVID-19 by touching an infected surface and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes, it is not the main way the virus spreads.

“COVID-19 is primarily spread by droplets through the air,” said Dr. John Greene, chair of the Infectious Diseases Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. Those droplets can be released into the air by talking, sneezing, coughing and breathing.

Because COVID-19 is most likely to be spread through person-to-person contact, Greene says the most important things you can do to protect yourself are to practice social distancing, wear masks when appropriate and perform hand washing.

Dr. John Greene, Chair, Infectious Diseases Program
Dr. John Greene, Chair, Infectious Diseases Program

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows coronavirus can live on some surfaces for up to three days. However, the CDC says catching COVID-19 from boxes delivered from Amazon is highly unlikely.

“There is no need to wipe down packages or mail because the risk of transmission there is very low,” said Greene. “Just wash your hands after handling them.”

If you’re heading back to the gym, it may be a good idea to wipe down shared equipment. Greene says wiping equipment down could help prevent COVID-19 spread, as well as the spread of other bacterial infections like MRSA.

It is also still a good idea to continue cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched areas. To maximize effectiveness and decrease the chances of contracting COVID-19, follow these tips for disinfecting.

The CDC’s new guidance also states it is unlikely COVID-19 can spread from people to animals or animals to people.

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Sara Bondell Medical Science Writer 813-745-1353 More Articles

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