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Still Disinfecting Surfaces? It Might Not Be Worth It 

 

At the start of the pandemic, stores quickly sold out of disinfectant sprays and wipes. People were advised to wipe down their packages and the cans they bought at the grocery store.

But scientists have learned a lot this year about the coronavirus and how it's transmitted, and it turns out all that scrubbing and disinfecting might not be necessary.

If a person infected with the coronavirus sneezes, coughs or talks loudly, droplets containing particles of the virus can travel through the air and eventually land on nearby surfaces. But the risk of getting infected from touching a surface contaminated by the virus is low, says Emanuel Goldman, a microbiologist at Rutgers University.

In retrospect, Marr says that was "overkill." Today, she says, "all the evidence points toward breathing in the virus from the air as being the most important route of transmission."

Scientists now know that the early surface studies were done in pristine lab conditions using much larger amounts of virus than would be found in a real-life scenario.

Even so, many of us continue to attack door handles, packages and groceries with disinfectant wipes, and workers across the U.S. spend hours disinfecting surfaces in public areas like airports, buildings and subways.

There's no scientific data to justify this, says Dr. Kevin Fennelly, a respiratory infection specialist with the National Institutes of Health.

Still Disinfecting Surfaces? It Might Not Be Worth It

Tags: Choices, Clean, Coronavirus, Environment, Overreaction, Science, Study

Filed under: Health/Food

29-Dec-2020


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