Coronavirus 'does not spread easily' from surfaces, revised CDC website says

Henrietta Strickland
May 25, 2020

The CDC warns on its "How Coronavirus Spreads" webpage that it is possible for a person to catch COVID-19 from making contact with an infected surface and then touching his or her own mouth or nose and, perhaps, eyes.

The CDC's website had warned about "contaminated surfaces and objects" in a separate section. "We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes".

The virus mainly travels through the droplets a person produces when talking or coughing.

Aside from contaminated surfaces, other low-risk ways of spreading the coronavirus are from animals to people, and people to animals, the CDC said.

Nationwide as of Thursday, the virus had infected 1.5 million Americans and killed 93,061 people, according to the CDC.

The agency says more than 3% of people who show symptoms will require hospitalization, but that number is more than double for seniors.

The change, made May 11 with no public announcement, was to a headline on the agency's page about how the virus spreads, and specifically, whether a person can get sick from touching a surface with the virus on it. These droplets could land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last month there was no evidence to suggest the virus can spread through food or what it's wrapped in, and that there was no need to wipe down groceries.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts emphasized curtailing transmission of the virus from surfaces, said Dr. Keith Armitage, medical director of the University Hospitals Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health. "However, it doesn't mean you still shouldn't be cleaning the surfaces, shouldn't be disinfecting the surfaces well".

Wolfe said the best ways to limit the spread is through a trifecta of personal infectious disease control: social distancing, frequent hand-washing and proper use of face coverings.

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