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CDC updates guidance on cleaning surfaces to protect against COVID-19

In updated guidance published Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is “possible” for a person to become infected with COVID-19 through “contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low.”

The primary way people become infected with the virus is through exposure to respiratory droplets, the CDC said, and the risk of infection through fomites “is generally less than 1 in 10,000.” Because of this, the CDC said it is fine to regularly use water and soap or detergent to clean surfaces, as there is “little scientific support for routine use of disinfectants in community settings, whether indoor or outdoor, to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission from fomites.”

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the risk of surface transmission can also be reduced “by wearing masks consistently and correctly, washing your hands, and by following CDC … guidance to maintain healthy facilities.”

In homes, stores, and other indoor spaces where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, people should use disinfectants to clean surfaces, the CDC said.

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