Will N.J. reopen the playgrounds after the CDC changed its warning about coronavirus by touching surfaces?

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The Federal Centers for Disease Control recently stated that coronavirus doesn’t spread as easily when someone touches a surface or object as it does from person-to-person contact.

So does this mean that New Jersey could allow places like children’s play areas to reopen?

Governor Phil Murphy, who has slowly eased state restrictions on COVID-19 in recent days, said he was unsure on Friday.

“I think … if it’s an exterior surface, it’s something we’re probably going to get sooner than later than we would for an indoor surface,” Murphy said in his daily briefing on coronaviruses in Trenton.

But Dr. Christina Tan, the state’s epidemiologist, stressed that people should always clean surfaces to be safe.

That means continuing to wipe away grocery stores and storytellers.

“Right now, the evidence suggests that contaminated surfaces aren’t really the primary mode of transmission,” said Tan. “However, that does not mean that you should still not clean the surfaces, nor disinfect the surfaces well. So all of these other infection control measures have yet to be implemented. “

The CDC website warned of “contaminated surfaces and objects” in a separate section. But earlier this month it was replaced with a section explaining how “the virus does not spread easily by other means.”

“It is possible that someone can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object infected with the virus, and then touching their mouth, nose or possibly eyes,” says the CDC website. “We don’t think this is the main way the virus spreads, but we are learning more about it. “

The CDC said it had modified the site to improve its organization. A spokesperson told NPR on Friday that “our language of transmission has not changed.”

The agency said the main source of the spread of the virus is respiratory droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks closely to someone else.

“COVID-19 is mainly spread through close person-to-person contact,” Haynes said on public radio. “Although it is possible for someone to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object infected with the virus and then touching their mouth, nose or possibly eyes, it is not considered to be main means of virus spread. “

Although state and county parks reopened more than two weeks ago in New Jersey, the playgrounds and exercise equipment remain closed.

The CDC also recommended that children avoid using playgrounds as they are often crowded, it can be difficult to keep them clean, and the virus can spread when children touch contaminated equipment and then touch their faces. .

Meanwhile, an April study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that it took 72 hours for the virus to become undetectable on plastic, compared to 48 hours on stainless steel and cardboard, and eight hours on the copper.

Samiksha Raut, associate professor of biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also noted that “children are constantly moving from one part of the playground to another and are quite inclined to touch their face – nose , eyes, etc., at intervals. ”

“Therefore, if they manage to touch an object with the new coronavirus, the chances of being infected are very high,” Raut said in a statement.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracking | Bulletin | Home page

New Jersey, a densely populated state of 9 million, has reported at least 10,985 deaths attributed to COVID-19, with at least 152,719 cases, since the epidemic began on March 4. Only New York has more deaths and cases among the American states.

Authorities reported 146 new deaths and 1,394 new positive tests in New Jersey on Friday.

But officials say the daily number of deaths, cases and hospitalizations in the state continues to decline. And in recent weeks, Murphy has authorized non-essential retail businesses to offer a curbside service and has said the beaches may be open for the summer.

Murphy announced on Friday that the state would allow more people to gather outside, up to a maximum of 25, in time for Memorial Day weekend. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

The governor said Thursday morning that more businesses – such as lounges and gyms – could be allowed to reopen with directives “in a few weeks”.

Still, he said it was easier to reopen at the moment because the virus is more likely to spread indoors.

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Brent Johnson can be reached at [email protected].

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