The page notes that the respiratory illness “spreads easily” between people but “does not spread easily in other ways,” such as through contaminated surfaces or pets.
“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 site reads.
Though the risk of the virus spreading from objects or surfaces to people is lower than that of person to person spread, the CDC still recommends following the same protocols: maintaining social distance (about six feet) from other people, washing hands often with soap and water and routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told The Washington Post Thursday that the website updates were the result of an internal review and “usability testing.”
“Our transmission language has not changed,” she said. “Covid-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person.”
As of Friday, there were more than 5 million coronavirus cases worldwide and 333,480 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Though there is still much unknown about the rapidly spreading virus, the CDC has determined that it travels through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
People practice social distancing in Domino Park in Williamsburg
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, and the virus can be spread by people who are infected but not showing any of the flu-like symptoms associated with the coronavirus, making social distancing protocols particularly important for fighting the spread.
The recent change to the CDC website, stressing that person to person transmission is most likely, is in line with previous findings about the coronavirus, but the revision does concern some in the medical field.
“A persistent problem in this pandemic has been lack of clear messaging from governmental leadership, and this is another unfortunate example of that trend,” virologist Angela L. Rasmussen told The Washington Post. “It could even have a detrimental effect on hand hygiene and encourage complacency about physical distancing or other measures.”
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