New studies indicate Surface Transmission of Coronavirus. The CDC has just issued a new study (March 23rd) entitled Public Health Responses to COVID-19 Outbreaks on Cruise Ships — Worldwide, February–March 2020. The study examined the recent Covid-19 outbreraks on cruise ships. The study concluded that “SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted (Takuya Yamagishi, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, personal communication, 2020). ” See https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e3.htm?s_cid=mm6912e3_w.
The CDC did not study whether actual “transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces” on the cruise ships. “Although [this] data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted.”
The CDC, however, had already stated that “[i]t may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes . . . .” See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html. The WHO has gone farther in stating:
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects – such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
See World Health Organization release, “How COVID-19 spreads” 27 February 2020, v. 1.4
Numerous other studies have also addressed the question of whether viruses such as Covid-19 can be transmitted contaminated surfaces, concluding that “[f]omites [inanimate surfaces] can serve as routes of transmission for both enteric and respiratory pathogens.” Moriarty LF, Plucinski MM, Marston BJ, et al. Public Health Responses to COVID-19 Outbreaks on Cruise Ships — Worldwide, February–March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 23 March 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6912e3external icon.
Consequently, it’s imperative during the Coronavirus outbreak that all healthcare and business facilities fully and effectively disinfect surfaces on a frequent basis. The CDC recommends that all businesses “[c]lean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface. See Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) , https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html