PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The coronavirus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC isn’t saying why it made the adjustment.
The virus is primarily spread through close personal interactions and being within six feet of other people.
While touch isn’t the main way COVID-19 is spread, experts say it’s still important to wash your hands.
Instead of its original wording that said COVID-19 may be spread through contaminated surfaces, the updated guidance from the CDC now says, “This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.”
“We’re less concerned about this business of touching and infecting surfaces,” said Dr. John Zurlo, the director of infectious disease at Jefferson Hospital.
Zurlo says we shouldn’t completely discount surface contamination. The CDC still says it may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface and then your face.
“If somebody has freshly coughed or sneezed on a surface and then you rub your eye or do something like that, undoubtedly that could be a means of spreading infection. So the combination of wearing masks, as we’re seeing so much in the public, and washing hands frequently makes a whole lot of sense,” Zurlo said.
So is it necessary to wipe down groceries or deliveries?
“I don’t think so. I know people are nervous and anxious in this very difficult time and it would be completely difficult for me to absolutely assure people that that is an unlikely means of infection, but I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s an important measure, frankly,” Zurlo said.
The main way COVID-19 spreads is close person-to-person contact, which remains the emphasis from the CDC. That’s why masks and social distancing are most important.
The CDC continues to recommend that you routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.