MIAMI – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its website to inform people that the novel coronavirus “does not spread easily” from touching contaminated surfaces and objects and then touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes, although it is still possible.
It’s unclear exactly when the change was made on the website. Previously, it simply stated that it “may be possible” to spread the virus from touching contaminated surfaces or objects.
In an email to Fox News, Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer for the healthcare website WebMD, said the CDC’s change was an “important step in clarifying how the virus is spread, especially as we gain new information.”
“It also may help reduce anxiety and stress,” he told the news outlet. “Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case. Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious.”
Other ways the virus appears to not easily spread is from animals to people and from people to animals, according to the CDC.
“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads,” the CDC stated on its website. “It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.”
The CDC’s website states that the main way the virus has been spreading is:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
CDC officials say COVID-19 spreads “very easily” between people and research suggests that the virus “is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.”
CDC officials also warn that the virus may be spread by people who are not showing any symptoms related to COVID-19.
Despite the change on its website, the CDC still encourages people to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces in addition to other preventative measures, such as maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others and washing your hands often with soap and water.