CDC Says You Don't Have to Do This Anymore to Stop COVID
Over the course of the last year-plus as health experts have learned more about COVID-19, guidance surrounding the virus has evolved. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the primary way the virus is spread, and even revealed that one common prevention measure previously recommended may be doing more harm than good. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.
Surface Transmission Risk Is Very Low
During a CDC-sponsored telephone briefing, the CDC explained that the risk of surface transmission of the virus is so low, that disinfecting surfaces is not just a waste of time, it may even increase transmission. They also confirmed that airborne transmission is the primary source of infection. As a result the CDC has updated its guidance for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in community settings.
"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. He added that while indoors, the risk of touch-transmission is very low, while outdoors, the chances are closer to zero as the sun and other external forces can kill the virus.
There Is Only One Situation When Disinfecting Surfaces Can Reduce Transmission
"In most situations, cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent, and not disinfecting, is enough to reduce the already low risk of virus transmission through surfaces," Hill said. "Disinfecting surfaces is typically not necessary, unless a sick person or someone positive for Covid-19 has been in the home within the last 24 hours." In these situations, disinfecting can lower transmission rates. When you do clean, he suggests focusing on high contact areas such as light switches and doorknobs.
Disinfecting Surfaces Can Offer a "False Sense of Security"
He also pointed out that using cleaning products and "putting on a show" to clean and disinfect" may be used to give people a sense of security that they are being protected from the virus, but this may be a false sense of security, if other prevention measures like wearing masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene are not being consistently performed," he added. "It also could make people feel less need to engage in these other important prevention measures."
Additional data shows that the disinfectants themselves may pose a risk.
Some Cleaning Products Are Even Toxic
Hill also revealed that some of the cleaning products used are harming people. "Public inquiries indicate that some people may purposely drink, inhale, or spray their skin with disinfectants, without understanding that use of disinfectants in this way can cause serious harm to their bodies," he said. For example, June 2020 CDC research showed that only 58% knew that bleach should not be mixed with ammonia, because mixing bleach and ammonia creates a toxic gas that harms people's lungs."
Even bleach alone can be harmful, especially when people are using it to wash food products, "which could lead to their consumption of bleach that isn't washed off, which can damage the body because bleach is toxic. Eighteen percent used household cleaner on bare skin, which can damage the skin and cause rashes and burns," he said.
Keep Doing Your Part
So follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's proven fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.