Experts say contaminated surfaces are not highest COVID-19 risk

Researchers now say the primary route of COVID-19 infection isn't by touching contaminated surfaces but through the respiratory system.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis Children's Hospital, says people should focus on wearing masks and social distancing and less on sanitizing surfaces.

It has been determined that cleaners need at least one minute on any surface -- and potentially up to ten minutes -- to fully disinfect before wiping down. While tests have found only traces of COVID-19 on surfaces, no research has established that the virus is viable in those places.

“It probably doesn’t survive in an appreciable concentration to be transmitted via surfaces,” Dr. Blumberg said.  "All the attention paid to hand washing, disinfecting of surfaces -- the things we see in public places of the deep cleaning --  that might reassure the public, but I don’t think it has any impact in terms of transmission."

“People are getting infected primarily by airborne transmission," said Dr. Jason Littleton, an Orlando-area family physician. "That’s the type of transmission that transmits a very high viral load, as opposed to surfaces.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still maintains that it may be possible that people 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

"It needs to be a high enough concentration on a surface. It needs to survive long enough for you to touch that exact spot on the surface, get it on your finger, then take your finger and with enough virus on your finger, then you have to touch your eyes your nose or your mouth," Dr. Blumberg added.

Both of our medical experts caution that this is a brand new virus and we are still learning more every day but said recommendations will likely continue to evolve, as more research is completed.