The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) said Monday that the risk of COVID-19 transmission to surfaces is low, which considers “obsessive” disinfection not necessarily a good thing.
The CDC also explained that aerosol transport is a much greater concern than surface transport, although it is possible.
“The CDC has determined that the risk of virus transmission from surfaces is low and secondary for the main routes of virus transmission through direct droplets and aerosols,” said Vincent Hill, head of the CDC-sponsored telephone briefing.
The risk of transmission from touching the surface, although small, is higher indoors. The expert said that the sun and other outdoor factors can eliminate viruses.
CNN says the virus dies “quickly” on porous surfaces, but it can persist for longer on hard interior surfaces.
Research also indicated that surface transmission was more likely within the first 24 hours of a person being infected, and that households where one person had contracted COVID-19 had lower rates of transmission when surfaces were cleaned often.
So while keeping surfaces clean isn’t a waste of time, it’s not the only or even the most important way to reduce risk, according to the CDC.
“In most cases, cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent, not disinfection, is sufficient to reduce the risk of virus transmission across the surfaces,” Vincent Hill said.
“Surface disinfection is not generally necessary, unless the sick person or person with the COVID virus has been at home within the past 24 hours.”
Cleaning should focus on high contact areas such as door handles and light switches.
In addition, improper use of household products can lead to disastrous consequences.
“Making an offer” while cleaning can give people a sense of security that makes them believe they are protected from the virus if other barrier measures are not used, such as wearing a mask or physical distancing.
He added that frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces could have a negligible effect on virus transmission and contribute to the “symptom”.
Additional data shows that disinfectants themselves can be a risk.
“General inquiries indicate that some people can intentionally drink, inhale or spray their skin with disinfectants, without realizing that this use could cause serious damage to their bodies,” adds the CDC expert.
Vincent Hill also cited a June 2020 CDC study that showed that among those surveyed, “only 58% knew that bleach should not be mixed with ammonia because the mixture of bleach and ammonia creates a toxic gas that is harmful to people’s lungs.”