When It Comes To COVID-19 Surface Cleaning, Less Is Better

The risk of COVID-19 surface transmission is low, says the CDC, and is especially low outdoors.

COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease spread through the air and all the attention being paid to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces isn’t really necessary. Not only that but if done excessively, those activities actually do more harm than good, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday.

The risk of surface transmission is low, said Vincent Hill, the CDC’s chief of the waterborne disease prevention branch. It’s a little more of a risk indoors, but outdoors it’s especially low because the sun and other factors can destroy the virus, Hill said.

The CDC went on to say COVID-19 does not last on porous surfaces, but can last longer on hard indoor surfaces, according to a report on CNN.

A study conducted last year by the CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), UCLA, and Princeton University investigated how long the virus remained infectious on different surfaces. The investigators found that SARS-CoV-2 is detectable in aerosols for up to 3 hours, on copper up to 4 hours, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel.

This was the widely-held view for some time as a virus spread through airborne transmission. Efforts to prevent it by masking, good indoor air circulation, and social distancing remain important efforts, and one new study shows the aforementioned first 2 may be of greater importance.

In a study done by the University of Central Florida, investigators’ findings suggest good ventilation and masks are significantly more important in reducing the airborne spread of COVID-19 than social distancing. The constant current of airflow caused by the ventilation system forces the air to circulate and be processed through an air filter, which removes a portion of the aerosols. The findings are in line with recent recommendations from the CDC.

As the US continues to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccine efforts, it is important to follow the latest CDC guidelines to protect against the virus.