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CDC says time to stop 'hygiene theater' – less focus on sanitizing, more on ventilation

"The risk is generally considered to be low," the CDC said about getting COVID-19 from surfaces.

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Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizer
(Lionel Bonaventure / Getty Images)
Updated: April 6, 2021 - 8:23am

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to put more into better ventilation practices and less  into sanitizing objects to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low," the CDC said Monday, according to Yahoo News.

So-called "hygiene Theater" is described as the high priority people are giving to sanitize objects in fear of COVID-19, such as restaurants sanitizing everything from menus to window ledges, something the CDC said shouldn't be as high a priority to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Surface transmission of COVID-19 is not justified at all by the science,” Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told The Atlantic in July 2020.

In the brief released Monday, the CDC said that people should put less effort into sanitizing surfaces and more effort in preventing the spread through airborne particles.

The CDC said that when a person with the coronavirus has been indoors, the virus can remain in the air particles for hours and that the risk of spread and infection can be reduced by increasing ventilation and limiting people from going into that space for as long as possible.

"The risk of infection from entering a space where a person with COVID-19 has been is low after 24 hours," the new CDC brief states. 

The agency also clean surfaces with soap and water is typically all that is necessary but stressed that proper mask and ventilation.

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