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CDC says surface contact is low cause of COVID-19 spread, updates guidance

With updated guidance, the CDC says the chances of contracting the coronavirus from surfaces or objects are extremely low.

We looked back at the onset of the pandemic and what caused a rush to get personal cleaning and disinfecting products. We also looked at why we might not have needed to run out for those products early during the pandemic.

“We were wiping packages we were getting from Amazon, leaving them in the corner for one week so the virus would die,” said Professor John Lednicky, an aerovirologist at UF. “Any of that really help anything? No.”

Of course, many will remember the bare shelves at stores, as people hoarded these types of products when there was much less understanding about COVID-19 and the nature of spread.

Lednicky calls the phenomenon hygiene-theatre, and it cost us more than money and time.

“We ended up causing a lot of stress going through all these steps that really weren’t very meaningful,” Lednicky said.

That show is finally over.

“In most situations, regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergent, not necessarily disinfecting those surfaces, is enough to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said.

The CDC finds the chances of getting infected by touching a contaminated surface is less than 1 in 10,000.

“The real thing that everyone has to concentrate on — respiratory spread,” said Dr. Stanley Weiss, an epidemiologist at Rutgers University. “Which means you should be wearing a mask. It’s foolhardy to be washing your hands endlessly and not wear a mask.”

So don’t spend more money on harsh chemicals and wipes. Instead, Lednicky says consider investing in ventilation and air filtration. Maybe start by opening the windows.

We reached out Lee County to see how the new CDC guidance might impact its operations. A spokesperson said county leaders are discussing the change.

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Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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