The Guardian reports that experts in Australia have said that the paranoia of catching Covid from surfaces has been exaggerated.

Key points

Surface transmission is not as significant a factor in Covid-19 as once feared.

Associate Professor Hassan Vally, Epidemiologist, La Trobe University

We can, however, be less anxious about washing every surface 20 times a day, and just concentrate on good hand hygiene and social distancing, and staying home when sick, which should be more than enough to stop us from spreading the virus.

Associate Professor Hassan Vally, Epidemiologist, La Trobe University

Emanuel Goldman, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University in the US, wrote in medical journal the Lancet that studies warning of surface transmission had been conducted in the lab, and “have little resemblance to real-life scenarios”.

In my opinion, the chance of transmission through inanimate surfaces is very small, and only in instances where an infected person coughs or sneezes on the surface, and someone else touches that surface soon after the cough or sneeze (within 1–2 hours)

Emanuel Goldman, Professor of Microbiology, Rutgers University

Periodically disinfecting surfaces and use of gloves may be reasonable precautions in settings like hospitals, he said, but is probably overkill for less risky environments.

Emanuel Goldman, Professor of Microbiology, Rutgers University

As is often the case, studies are conducted in laboratories, without the same conditions found in the real world. Including the study by CSIRO, an Australian Government Agency, which claimed the virus could live on surfaces for up to 28 days.

In the real world, the virus would be exposed to ultraviolet light and different temperatures, making is unlikely the virus would survive as long as the study suggested.

The science wasn’t wrong, Vally said, but the interpretation and explanation of the results was.

Associate Professor Hassan Vally, Epidemiologist, La Trobe University

This is perhaps the simplest explanation as to why any policy decisions should be make by a varied team of experts. The interpretation of the results and the impact of basing extreme measures on laboratory conditions, not the real world, is flawed.

Source: Clean break: the risk of catching Covid from surfaces overblown, experts say | Health | The Guardian

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