The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced a massive change to previous thinking about how exactly COVID-19 spreads. The experts now say that the virus “does NOT spread easily” from surface to surface.
“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads,” according to the CDC.
This subtle change garnered plenty of attention as up until now the agency had maintained that contaminated surfaces played a large part in the spread of the virus.
The CDC now includes “surfaces or objects” under a section that details ways in which the coronavirus does not readily transmit.
Other ways in which the virus does not easily spread is from animals to people, or from people to animals, the federal agency said on its updated page.
The news comes after The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mid-April issued a statement saying that there’s no need to wipe down food packaging after you’ve returned home from the grocery store.
“We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” the FDA said at the time.
The CDC’s changes come from epidemiological data according to Yahoo.
“Based on the epidemiology, we know that the main way this virus is infecting people is from direct contact with other infected people,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the outlet. “Contaminated surfaces play some role, but it’s likely much smaller.”
“This is a respiratory virus, and respiratory viruses largely spread through breathing in infected respiratory droplets,” Dr. Adalja added.
“It might be possible to become infected after touching a surface that has the virus, then touching one’s face,” Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician at Northeast Ohio Medical University said. “That is why handwashing and avoiding touching one’s face are important. However, this isn’t the main way the virus is spread.”
Another contributor, Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, called the CDC’s changes an “important step in clarifying how the virus is spread, especially as we gain new information.”
“It also may help reduce anxiety and stress. Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,” Whyte said in an email to Fox News.
“I think this new guideline helps people understand more about what does and doesn’t increase risk. It doesn’t mean we stop washing hands and disinfecting surfaces. But it does allow us to be practical and realistic as we try to return to a sense of normalcy,” he added.
Along with the changes, the CDC reinforced that “good social distance” and “routinely” washing your hands remained key steps to prevent exposure to the virus.