COVID-19: the risk of getting infected by touching contaminated surfaces is .0001%

The chance of becoming infected with COVID-19 by touching a contaminated object or surface is 1 in 10,000: just wash your hands with soap and water.

Of all the cleansing rituals the world has embraced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disinfection and sanitization of objects and surfaces that could be contaminated is one of the most common and ineffective actions to avoid infection.

The idea that packages that come home, grocery bags or any object from outside is impregnated with COVID-19 it can be worrying; however, today we know that lacks any scientific support.

At the beginning of the pandemic, a single study suggested that coming into contact with fomites (those inert objects that may contain a pathogen and transmit it) could cause infections, the overwhelming majority of scientific evidence more than a year after living with the virus reaches to the same conclusion in this regard: more than a preventive action, the surface disinfection is a waste of time and resources.

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And although the scientific consensus has gathered more and more evidence in favor of leaving aside the obsessive cleaning of any object that enters the house, for the first time, the United States CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) gathered the scientific evidence available at the time and concluded that the chance of getting COVID-19 from fomites is less than 1 in 10,000.

The very low probability is apparent from the results obtained from dozens of quantitative microbiological risk assessments, which measure the risk of exposure to microorganisms.

The CDC explains that the common cleaning soap or detergent, even on high-contact surfaces, is enough to further reduce the risk of contagion. The instruction changes in the case of sharing interiors with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, where disinfection is welcome to reduce the risk of contagion.

Finally, the CDC emphasizes that the main routes of transmission of COVID-19 are the respiratory droplets expelled by a sick person when talking, coughing or sneezing, and airborne virus transmission, from aerosols with viral particles that can float in the air for minutes in poorly ventilated places and with a high concentration of people.

So, the general indication based on scientific evidence is simple: you have to begin to not worry about the obsessive disinfection of objects from the outsideSimply wash your hands with soap and water. Instead, it’s time to focus care on the two main transmission routes, using face masks and avoiding poorly ventilated places with high influx.

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