CDC Updates Views on COVID Spread

Although COVID-19 quickly spreads between people, it is not easily transmitted from contaminated surfaces, according to new information from the CDC. Likewise, experts at the CDC have reversed course on another front, suggesting that exposure to infected animals appears not to be a significant method of COVID-19 transmission.

The coronavirus primarily spreads from person to person, according to updated guidance now issued via the agency’s website. Additionally, the website notes that “the virus does not spread easily in other ways,” noting that touching contaminated surfaces or objects appears not to be a significant mode of virus transmission. The latest revisions, presented on May 21, were produced via an internal review and “usability testing,” according to Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson for the CDC.

“Our transmission language has not changed,” Nordlund said. “COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person.” The website notes that the virus spreads through the droplets an individual produces when speaking or coughing. A person does not need to feel sick or display symptoms in order to spread the submicroscopic virus. The virus has been shown to spread most easily in nursing homes, meatpacking plants, and prisons, where many people live or work in close proximity to each other.

“Direct contact with people has the highest likelihood of getting infected—being close to an infected person, rather than accepting a newspaper or a FedEx guy dropping off a box,” said Vincent Munster, PhD, a virologist and researcher in the virus ecology section at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases facility in Hamilton, MT.

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