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Dr. Fauci Says Here's The Surefire Way You'll Catch COVID

The main way coronavirus spreads, and one way it doesn't.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Dr. Anthony Fauci

There's one way you're likely to catch COVID-19, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and medical adviser to President Biden. It's not most likely on doorknobs or handrails or packages or mail.  "The overwhelming transmissibility occurs through droplets in the air," said Fauci, speaking at a virtual event hosted by the National Congress of American Indians on Tuesday. Read on to see how to avoid infection—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Fauci said to wash your hands as frequently as you can

Fauci was responding to a question from an audience member, who asked if it was necessary to sanitize cardboard boxes or envelopes delivered through the mail. (The answer is no.) "The best way to avoid any problem is to wash your hands as frequently as you can," said Fauci. "And it could be cold water. It doesn't have to be warm water." In cases where water isn't available, he reiterated that hand sanitizers should be used.

The question is understandable: Beginning with the early days of the pandemic, public places like grocery stores, banks, and coffee shops have publicized their "enhanced cleaning procedures," conspicuously wiping down surfaces to protect customers against the virus. Disinfectant wipes sold out nationwide as many Americans began wiping down their groceries, Amazon packages and, yes, mail. Many are still following those routines today, even though experts have said since last fall that the coronavirus is rarely transmitted through surfaces.

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

Focus on masks, as well, says CDC and experts

"To the best of my knowledge, in real life, scientists like me — an epidemiologist and a physician — and virologists basically don't worry too much about these things," David Morens, a senior adviser to Fauci, told the Washington Post last October. 

On its webpage titled "How Coronavirus Spreads," the CDC states, "Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way" COVID-19 is transmitted.

Experts say that instead of worrying about whether you're entering a sanitized environment, concentrate on what you can control—whether you're wearing a mask (or two) and washing your hands frequently. "It's the behaviors you do to make sure that nothing in the environment, including your own hands, gets into your mouth, nose or eyes" that will protect you from COVID, said Morens. 

RELATED: 5 Sure Ways to Avoid COVID Now, According to a Doctor

How to survive this pandemic

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.