COVID-19 'does not spread easily' on surfaces, says United States health agency

The CDC has been updating Americans with vital information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC has been updating Americans with vital information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Getty

The US's top health agency has updated its guidance on COVID-19, saying the disease does not spread easily on surfaces. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued their revised recommendations last week, but are still asking Americans to take precautionary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"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," its website now states.

"But these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.

"COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads."

However, they are still recommending people routinely clean and disinfect touched surfaces, as well as maintaining good social distancing and washing hands to protect against COVID-19.

The CDC did not provide an explanation for what caused them to change their advice.

Dr Manisha Juthani, an infectious disease doctor at Yale University, told USA Today that many people were overly concerned about handling packages and groceries during the pandemic.

"The CDC guidelines I believe are trying to reduce fear and paranoia about methods of transmission," Dr Juthani said.

She says to stop the spread of COVID-19 people should wear masks in public and must "continue to maintain physical distance, wash hands, and try to avoid touching your face". 

"These habits will help going into the respiratory virus season this fall and winter."

Sunrise GP Dr Ginni Mansberg agrees, 7News reported.

Dr Mansberg says this new information means people “can relax a little bit,” but should still be cautious.

"We absolutely still want to wash our hands, we should practise social distancing, we should still clean our surfaces - but it’s not as big of a risk as we first thought," Dr Mansberg said.

"We don't need to get home from the supermarket and disinfect all of the groceries before putting them on the bench."

"Hopefully people can relax a little bit."

The CDC also says COVID-19 does not spread easily from people to animals, and from animals to people.

Its website says it is most easily and sustainably spread 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 United States now has over 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has recorded 94,000 deaths.