True. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is unlikely that you can become infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. You’re much more likely to become infected if you’re in close contact with someone who is infected and WHO sneezes, coughs or talks, releasing respiratory droplets into the air that you can inhale. This can occur even if the infected person has no obvious symptoms, and is why the CDC strongly advises us to stay about six feet apart from others and to wear masks.
Even though infection is less likely to occur through shared objects, it’s still important to clean and disinfect your home regularly, particularly surfaces that are frequently touched, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. The CDC advises using soap and water first and then disinfectant. Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of surface germs, dirt and impurities, while disinfectant kills germs on the surface. Wear disposable or reusable gloves when cleaning.
Throughout this pandemic, be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water, particularly after removing gloves and after any contact with a person who is sick. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. And be sure to clean your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, using the restroom, before eating or preparing food, after contact with animals or pets, and before and after helping a child or others who need assistance. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. The CDC notes that washing hands for 15 to 30 seconds removes more germs than washing for less time. Be sure to rinse off soap in clean cold or warm running water to minimize skin irritation. (Incidentally, don’t substitute use of baby wipes for handwashing. They aren’t designed to remove germs.)
Be sure to dry your hands thoroughly after washing. Germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands. Use a clean towel or air drier.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, When and How to Wash Your Hands, cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html