Over the growing concerns of COVID transfer through surface contact, recent rewording in CDC guidelines make it clear that surface transfers are not the main mode of the virus spread. The national health body clarified that it spreads mainly through person-to-person contact. On surface transfer, the agency said that it ‘maybe’ a possible source of contact, but not considered the main source of virus transfer.
While these guidelines were instantly picked by various news outlets, CDC clarified that it was not a revision of earlier guidelines, but just a simple edit. However, these guidelines seem to offer greater clarity on how COVID-19 spreads in a population. It is mainly thought to spread through person-to-person contact, people who are within 6 feet of each other. It can spread through the respiratory droplets of an infected person, through sneezes, cough, or even while talking.
It spreads easily and sustainably through people’s contact. In terms of the contagiousness of the virus, it seems to spread more efficiently than influenza (or common flu), but less efficiently than measles. It can also be spread by people who are asymptomatic. Spread from animal to people is thought to be low. However, it can spread from people to animals.
On surface contact, the CDC guidelines say, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.”
So, how can you protect yourself? You can slow the spread by following these steps:
- Maintain social distancing: Keep a distance of about 6 feet from others in public.
- Wash hands: Wash your hands with soap and water. If these are not available use sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Disinfecting: Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC.
Get the latest research from NIH.