The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to encourage cleaning and disinfection, but they recently issued a reminder that you are more likely to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 from the air than from the surface.
“Based on available epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors, surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 is spread, and the risk is considered small,” the CDC said in a scientific report on April 5.
“The basic way in which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 is exposure to respiratory droplets that transmit the infectious virus.
“In most cases, cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent, rather than disinfection, is enough to reduce the risk.”
As a result, the CDC, state, and local health departments continue to emphasize guidelines that include wearing masks, moving away from society, washing hands, cleaning surfaces, and good indoor ventilation.
“Surface disinfection has been shown to be effective in preventing the secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between an infected person and other people in the household,” the CDC said.
“However, there is little scientific support for the routine use of disinfectants in community settings, whether indoors or outdoors, to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
Recent studies are briefly cited suggesting that the risk of virus infection from surface contact was low.
He reminds that the risk is “generally less than 1 in 10,000, which means that any contact with a contaminated surface has less than 1 in 10,000 chances of causing an infection.”
However, the CDC said, it is important to continue cleaning, even with soap and water, because the virus can remain on certain surfaces.
“Surface survival study data show that under normal indoor conditions, infectious SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses can be expected to be 99% reduced within three days (72 hours) on common non-porous surfaces such as stainless steel, plastics and glass, ”the CDC said.
It is said that cleaning with soap or detergent and disinfection with a product or process designed to inactivate the virus can reduce surface transmission.
“Cleaning reduces the amount of soil – dirt, microbes and other organic agents and chemicals – on surfaces, but the effectiveness varies depending on the type of cleaner, the cleaning process and how well the cleaning is performed,” the CDC noted.
When a person with suspicion or confirmed COVID-19 is indoors, the virus can remain suspended in the air for minutes or hours, the CDC said.
“The length of time the virus remains suspended and contagious depends on a number of factors, including viral load in respiratory droplets or small particles, air and surface disruption, ventilation, temperature and humidity,” the CDC said.
“Wearing masks consistently and properly can significantly reduce the amount of virus indoors, including the amount of virus that lands on surfaces.”
Risk of infection
The CDC said limited data suggests that the risk of infection from entering a space where a person with COVID is low after 24 hours.
But during the first 24 hours the risk is higher, but it can be reduced by increasing ventilation and waiting as long as possible before entering the space.
“Humans can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 by contact with surfaces,” the CDC noted.
“However, based on available epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors, surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 is spread, and the risk is considered low.”
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