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CDC Reverses Course on COVID-19’s Ability to Linger on Surfaces

Finally…some good news!

It’s hard to believe that the beginning of America’s experience with COVID-19 began only a few months ago, as many US citizens will tell you that it has felt as though they’ve been social-distancing for years.

And, seeing as this is still a fairly new experience with an overtly novel virus, we still have quite a bit to learn about the ins-and-outs of COVID-19.  To make matters worse, the data that China relayed to the rest of the world about the original outbreak in Wuhan appears now to have been completely bunk, which left much of the globe with a skewed idea of what to expect.

In the early days of the crisis, we were led to believe that this novel strain of coronavirus could linger on some surfaces for upward of two days.  Now, in a stunning reversal, the CDC is revising their take on the subject.

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For those of you still wiping down groceries and other packages amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, breathe a sigh of relief: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says the novel virus “does not spread easily” from “touching surfaces or objects” — but experts warn that doesn’t mean it’s no longer necessary to take “practical and realistic” precautions in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

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Though when the change was made is not currently clear, the federal health agency appears to have subtly shifted its guidelines from March which simply said it “may be possible” to spread the virus from contaminated surfaces.

“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,” the CDC said on a now-archived page from March 28. At the time, however, the CDC did note that this possible method of transmission “is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Even so, the CDC now includes “surfaces or objects” under a section that details ways in which the coronavirus does not readily transmit.

This will likely come as a major relief to retailers who were grappling with how to comply with the CDC guidance on sanitation, particularly in highly-trafficked areas such as bathrooms or dressing rooms.


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