What is the risk of catching a coronavirus from a surface?

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Fears of catching the coronavirus from contaminated surfaces have prompted many of us to spend the past few months wiping the grocery store, leaving packages unopened and stressful of hitting elevator buttons.

But what is the real risk of catching Covid-19 from a surface or a germinated object?

The issue has recently been of concern to people and there has been some confusion after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made changes to its website last week. Social media sites and some media have suggested that the agency had downgraded its warnings and that surface transmission was no longer a concern.

“Based on data from laboratory studies of Covid-19 and what we know about similar respiratory illnesses, it is possible that a person could contract Covid-19 by touching a surface or object infected with the virus , then touching his own mouth. , the nose or maybe their eyes, “the agency wrote. “But it is not believed to be the primary means of spreading the virus. “

Does this mean we can get coronavirus by touching a door handle? Catch a frisbee? Do you share a pan?

Then you need to come and touch the contaminated surface, catch enough viable virus on your hands, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If all is well for the virus, you will get sick.

“There is a long chain of events that should occur for someone to become infected through contact with groceries, mail, takeout containers or other surfaces,” said Julia Marcus, infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The last step in this causal chain is to touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hand, so the best way to make sure the chain is broken is to wash your hands. “

Dr. Chudnovsky, a theoretical physicist whose research has focused on the spread of airborne infection, said a similar pattern is probably true for the new coronavirus, but the exact numbers are not known.

“I believe that the C.D.C. he is right when he says that surface transmission is not dominant, “said Dr. Chudnovsky. “The surfaces frequently touched by large numbers of people, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc., can play a more important role in the spread of infection than objects accidentally touched, such as packages of food delivered to your home. “

Ultimately, the best way to protect ourselves from the coronavirus – whether surface transmission or close human contact – is always social distance, washing our hands, not touching our faces, and wearing masks.

“Hand washing is important not only for fomite transmission, but also for person-to-person transmission,” said Dr Daniel Winetsky, postdoctoral fellow in the division of infectious diseases at Columbia University. “The respiratory droplets we produce when speaking, coughing and sneezing fall mainly on our hands, and can fall on other people’s hands if they are within six feet of us. “



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