The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its information regarding how the agency believes the coronavirus spreads.
According to the revised CDC information, the virus is spread mostly from person-to-person contact and not so much through the presence of the virus on surfaces, as was previously believed.
“COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus,” the new information says.
“We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes,” the agency says.
The CDC says the coronavirus is generally spread between people who come into “close contact with one another,” as well as via “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.”
“The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious,” the CDC says.
As for fears that the coronavirus is rampant on surfaces or objects, the CDC now says it believes the virus “does not spread easily in other ways,” beyond close contact with an infected person.
The CDC does caution, however, that “COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads.”
A study published in March found that the coronavirus could remain on some surfaces for hours and even days.
Researchers evaluated the presence of the virus on surfaces and found that it could live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic for up to 72 hours.
“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 updated CDC information says.
The information might help to calm fears for those concerned about contracting the illness from some surfaces.
“It 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. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” the CDC says.
Still, the CDC advises that the best way to avoid becoming sick is to avoid close contact with others, wash your hands regularly with soap and water and keep surfaces clean.
Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer for WebMD, spoke to Fox News about the updated information and called it an “important step in clarifying how the virus is spread, especially as we gain new information.”
“It also may help reduce anxiety and stress. 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,” Whyte told Fox News.