New CDC Guidance: COVID-19 Virus 'Does Not Spread Easily' From Touching Surfaces

May 21, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The CDC now says the threat of spreading the coronavirus through contact with surfaces and objects is not nearly as great as through person-to-person contact, though it is still possible.

Sure, wiping off delivery boxes before bringing them into the house isn’t going to hurt, but the nation's health protection agency says that’s not the biggest area of concern. 

KYW Medical Editor Dr. Brian McDonough says that, while contact spread of coronavirus can still happen, the droplets people project when they talk, cough or sneeze at much more aggressive.

He says it’s a good news/bad news situation. Relax a little about the groceries you bring home, but it’s still very important to guard against spreading the virus directly from person to person.

“You still need that 6-foot social distancing. You should be wearing masks. Things like elevators, planes and places where you can't have 6-foot distance — they become a greater risk. … They can be unsafe, because if the droplets go from one person to another, that's how it's easily spread.”

So the CDC is stressing the importance of washing hands, social distancing and wearing face masks as the most effective ways to protect yourself and those around you.

“Frankly, if you don't wear a mask, you're not being really bright, because that is your best protection right now,” McDonough said. “Make sure you reduce the spread to others and you also decrease your chances of getting that droplet spread to you.”

Dr. John Carlo, CEO of Prism Health North Texas, spoke to KRLD and reiterated that the new guidelines shouldn't change behavior as far as keeping yourself safe from contracting the virus. Carlo shared that people should continue cleaning surfaces and being deligent about washing hands.

The CDC also still advises that people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. The agency says the coronavirus is new, and scientists are still learning about how it spreads and the how severe COVID-19 can be.

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