By Duncan Hunter
We always believed that once more was known about COVID-19, the better prepared our leaders would become when formulating public policies related to the virus.
And on that note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a major new finding Wednesday: That coronavirus “does not spread easily” from contaminated surfaces or objects, though officials are still warning all of us to take “practical and realistic” steps to prevent its spread.
Fox News reports:
Though it’s not clear exactly when, the federal health agency appears to have recently changed its guidelines from early March that initially said it “may be possible” to spread the virus from contaminated surfaces, now including surfaces and objects under a section that details ways in which the coronavirus does not readily transmit.
Other ways in which the virus does not easily spread is from animals to people, or from people to animals, the federal agency said on its updated page.
“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads,” the agency said.
The CDC nevertheless reminded people that the virus mainly spreads via person-to-person contact, adding that the COVID-10 infection “is spreading very easily and sustainably between people.”
The CDC notes that coronavirus spreads person-to-person in these ways:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms
The seasonal flu spreads in exactly the same way, it should be noted.
In mid-March, a study was published indicating that coronavirus can remain infectious in the air for up to three hours and remain infectious on surfaces including stainless steel and plastic for up to three days.
“Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days,” the study — which had yet to be peer-reviewed — said. By comparison, the flu virus can only live on surfaces for approximately 48 hours.
Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, characterized the CDC’s changes as an “important step in clarifying how the virus is spread, especially as we gain new information.”
“It also may help reduce anxiety and stress. Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,” he said.