During pandemic, many misconceptions about modes of Covid-19 transmission have created clouds of confusion among people. Getting information from friends, social media and etc, increased fear in society that a virus can spread more easily from surfaces.
Over an year of pandemic, the scientists have admitted that Covid-19 as a respiratory virus is airborne. So, dominated way for Covid-19 transmission is respiratory droplets comes from an infected person’s while he is coughing, sneezing or talking.
Although, in some cases touching contaminated surface can be considered as a secondary route for the virus spreading. But major source of infection is still person to person contact.
How Covid-19 Transmission Occurs Through Surfaces?
A recent editorial published on February 2021 in Nature journal, highlighted several updates of WHO and CDC guidelines about being infected with Covid-19 from surfaces. There are several conditions that can increase risk of infection from surfaces.
Overall, Covid-19 can be transferred through surfaces if:
- The surface had high viral load at the time of touching
- Viable virus was present on the surface at the time of touching
- Touching mouth, nose, or eyes immediately after being contaminated because of surfaces having virus
From this editorial you can conclude that it is not necessary to be concerned about indirect contact from a surface except in extra-ordinary community settings or hospital where surfaces are frequently touched by infected people.
The Chance of Covid-19 Transmission Occur Through Surfaces?
A paper published in Lancet clarifies how likely is Covid-19 transmission occur from a surface.
Goldman who is a microbiologist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, says catching virus from surfaces seems to be rare. First of all, infected person have to cough or snooze on the surface and then you should touch it within 1-2 hours.
Why Society is Still Confused about Covid-19 Transmission Through Surfaces?
Goldman in his commentary for Lancet, goes through some epidemiological data which was published in early months of pandemic. These studies have shown Covid-19 can survives for several days on contaminated surfaces. These results became viral on social media widely and created a general misconception about Covid-19 among society.
As a result of this misconception, people have used lots of disinfection materials to clean surfaces that caused irritation to their respiratory systems and also was a wastage of money.
The Goldman paper took a closer look on previous findings that viral load on surface in such kind of tests is more higher than virus usually deposit on common surfaces. In another hand, in some cases viral particles survive on surface (such as genetic materials) cannot causing disease alone.
Covid-19 transmission through surfaces can be considered a potential rout of virus spreading, but it’s very rare to happen. So we should not over think about transmission through surfaces.
Instead of that, we have to focus on hand hygiene because many bacteria, viruses and yeasts even more dangerous than Covid-19 can survive on surfaces and can infect us due to our unwashed hands.
Also until vaccination of more than 75% of society, we have to keep on wearing masks and maintaining social distance to protect ourselves form Covid-19.