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Dr. Fauci says it’s ‘very unlikely’ people can get COVID-19 from doing this

Published Aug 17th, 2020 8:56AM EDT
Coronavirus Update Fauci
Image: YouTube

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  • During a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the chance of someone contracting the coronavirus from touching an inanimate object is ‘very unlikely.’
  • With the coronavirus spiking across dozens of U.S. states, people should still adhere to safety guidelines such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and frequent hand-washing.
  • The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States now hovers around 5.3 million while the number of deaths is around 170,000.

During a recent Instagram Live interview with Matthew McConaughey, Dr. Anthony Fauci relayed that the odds of contracting the coronavirus from inanimate objects — otherwise known as fomites — is not as high as initially believed. “It is conceivable,” Fauci said, “but very unlikely that you could get it through fomites, meaning inanimate objects [such as] doorknobs, or computers. It can occur, but it’s a very minor component of transmission.”

Fauci’s remarks come at a time when we’re learning more and more about how the coronavirus tends to spread from person to person. So while it was previously assumed that transmission via fomites was something to be aware and cautious of, the CDC back in May updated their coronavirus guidelines to state that the primary way the virus tends to spread is via person-to-person contact.

The CDC’s website reads in part:

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious. In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

The CDC does note that touching a surface or object that has the coronavirus and subsequently touching one’s face, mouth, or eyes could result in an infection. Still, the CDC adds that “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Having said that, Fauci’s remarks shouldn’t be taken to mean that it’s okay to be less vigilant when it comes to staying safe. As the CDC mentions, people should still make a point to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis.

As to other safety precautions to keep in mind, Fauci earlier this month outlined eight activities people should avoid partaking in until an effective vaccine is developed. That lists reads as follows:

  1. Indoor gatherings
  2. Outdoor gatherings
  3. Bars
  4. Restaurants
  5. Air Travel
  6. Public Transportation
  7. Going to the Gym
  8. Sharing food
Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.