A new study has shined a light on just how easy it is to spread coronavirus to other people through surfaces that presymptomatic patients have touched.
The study has been published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and researchers from China looked at hotel rooms of two Chinese students who returned back to China on March 19 and March 20. Neither of the students displayed any COVID-19 symptoms at the time of their departure, but on the second day of their quarantine back in China, they tested positive for COVID-19.
Researchers decided to sample various spots in their hotel rooms and found samples of SARS-CoV-2. These spots included places such as door handles, light switches, faucet handles, television remotes, pillow covers, duvet covers, sheets, towels, bathroom door handles, toilet seats, and more. Of the 22 samples that were collected by the researchers, 8 of them tested positive for COVID-19. In particular, sheet covers showed a high viral load of SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers say that this study, "demonstrates extensive environmental contamination of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a relatively short time. The detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the surface samples of the sheet, duvet cover, and pillow cover highlights the importance of proper handling procedures when changing or laundering used linens of SARS-CoV-2 patients. In summary, our study demonstrates that presymptomatic patients have high viral load shedding and can easily contaminate environments."
It should be noted that while spreading does happen from a healthy person touching the same surface as someone who is infected, it's not the primary way the virus spreads. The CDC recently updated its website emphasizing that the main way the virus spreads is through human-to-human transmission via droplets.
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