CDC reveals risk of COVID-19 infection from touching surfaces is low

CDC reveals risk of COVID-19 infection from touching surfaces is low
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There have been many myths and inconsistencies presented in mainstream media regarding the level of contagion and likely vectors for being infected with COVID-19. Early on when the pandemic started, CDC guidance recommended and even mandated the need to regularly scrub and fumigate, due to the possibility of surface contamination by the virus.

According to new guidance posted on the CDC website updated April 5, 2021, this has changed. Based on 36 Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) studies conducted to learn and understand more about the relative risk of SARS-CoV-2 fomite transmission to enhance prevention measures to reduce risk, they report that transmission from surface contamination is low, and generally less than one in 10,000. This means that each contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of resulting in contracting COVID-19.

In the study, researchers state that “it is not clear what proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections are acquired through surface transmission.” In addition, they also add that QMRA estimates are subjective and therefore more data is needed to improve “the accuracy and precision of information that is entered into the models.” Scientists also report that levels of infectious SARS-CoV-2 on outdoor surfaces are more likely to be lower when compared to indoor surfaces as a function of air dilution and sunlight.

Knowing that research suggests the information gained from surface survival studies demonstrates a 99% reduction in infectious SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses on common non-porous surfaces like stainless steel, plastic, and glass indoors. This typically occurs within 72 hours and is a good sign for getting small minority business like restaurants back open to become economically viable again.

Black and other minority-owned businesses were hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Many factors contributed to this, most importantly, lockdowns in major urban areas, failure to apply for pandemic specific federal aid programs and having fewer connections with banks when compared to Whites, as noted in a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in August 2020.

Another report published by H&R Block, which surveyed nearly 3,000 small businesses, found that 53% of Black business owners saw their revenue drop by half, versus 37% of White small business owners since the start of the pandemic.

To be clear, this is good news because people will not invest heavily in the cost of consistently scrubbing and fumigating their businesses. However, we should not forget that people can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 through contact with surfaces, only at a lower level than previously thought.

Surface transmission is not the foremost way by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads, and the risk is low. The primary manner by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 remains through being exposed to respiratory droplets that carry the virus.

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