While the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people, the risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
This, however, does not mean that people should stop washing their hands frequently.
“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” the CDC said.
Knowledge about how long the virus survives on surfaces is still evolving.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier found that viable coronavirus could live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for three days and it can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours.
Barely a couple of weeks after this finding, a CDC report said that genetic material from coronavirus was found on surfaces of Japan’s Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers disembarked.
However, neither of these studies confirmed that coronavirus spread easily on surfaces, according to a report in USA Today on Thursday.
The CDC in its guidance also said that the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low at this point of time.
But it warned that the COVID-19 virus is spreading very easily and sustainably between people.
“Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious,” the CDC said.