Throughout the pandemic, we have tried to present the most accurate information possible. That has meant occasionally revisiting older blogs and writing new ones saying advice was wrong. Sometimes people think admitting that something we previously believed to be true is wrong shows weakness. But, when something is as new as COVID-19 and researchers are studying it intensely, understanding evolves quickly. If scientists never admitted to learning that they were wrong, we would still be using bloodletting as a medical treatment.
After reviewing all the data, the CDC said that the risk of catching COVID-19 from a surface is very low. While keeping surfaces clean in your home is always a good idea for health and wellness, it is unlikely to play any role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. There is no reason to disinfect surfaces in your home to try to prevent catching the virus.
The “CDC determined that the risk of surface transmission is low, and secondary to the primary routes of virus transmission through direct contact droplets and aerosols,” Vincent Hill, Chief of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said on a CDC-sponsored telephone briefing.
We know that some people are still diligently cleaning their groceries and leaving mail unopened for 24 hours. Hopefully, this will take one stress point out of their lives. If you have been cleaning, you haven’t been wasting your time. The virus can live for up to 24 hours on surfaces. It’s just that it’s unlikely to be a place you’ll catch it from. Handwashing is still recommended, so if you’re washing your hands, the transmission risk is minimal.
“The major outbreaks of COVID have not been associated with packages, with surfaces,” Dr. Bruce Polsky said. He went on to say that if you have someone who is ill in your house, it is a good idea to disinfect areas you touch a lot. Doorknobs and light switches could be places where the virus might linger, but the risk is minimal compared to the airborne particles.
In general, when cleaning, it’s usually better to stick to soap and water than a lot of chemical cleaners. Chemical cleaners can be harmful when you are exposed to them frequently. And, many people don’t use them frequently enough to use them correctly. A survey from last June showed that only 58 percent of people know that mixing bleach and ammonia creates a toxic gas.
Many of us have let parts of our COVID-19 protection routines slip out of sheer fatigue. After a year, we are exhausted. If you are still disinfecting your counters, the new analysis of information about infections shows that it’s just not necessary. Give yourself a break and put your energy into something you enjoy doing. We could all use a little more time to spend on ourselves.