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The CDC just changed its stance on surface transmission of COVID-19 — again


Hard to keep up

Iñaki Berasaluce/Europa Press via Getty Images

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published guidance that suggested COVID-19 was not easily transmitted on surfaces. Friday, the CDC has changed that guidance somewhat, Fox News reported.

What they said last week: The CDC website said last week that COVID-19 "does not spread easily" from "touching surfaces or objects." That put it in the same category as animal-to human transmission.

This revelation was a big deal to people who had been nervous about the potential of catching the coronavirus from touching groceries or shopping carts or countertops. Also, previous CDC guidance had said COVID-19 survived on some surfaces for days.

What they say now: "After media reports appeared that suggested a change in CDC's view on transmissibility, it became clear that these edits were confusing," a CDC statement read.

Now, the CDC says it "may be possible" to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

"This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads," the statement said.

Now, it is quite unclear what the actual risk of surface transmission is.

Government confusion: This isn't the first time the public has received mixed messages from the government on crucial COVID-19 information. The messaging around the use of masks has been inconsistent.

In February, Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted that masks "are not effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus."

In March, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on "60 Minutes" that the general public "should not be walking around with masks."

In April, when the virus outbreak was worsening in the U.S., President Donald Trump recommended the use of cloth face coverings outside the home. But, he made it clear that he would not be following that recommendation, and there's no evidence that a cloth mask is effective.

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