With the coronavirus still spreading across America—and the death toll topping 169,000 in the country—Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the Coronavirus Task Force, sat down for an online interview with The Washington Post's Geoff Edgers to talk about how we can get the virus under control. During the interview, he discussed a variety of factors that contribute to the spread of COVID-19, including three words every American should hear, but also revealed a little nugget that can come in handy to us all: how he handles deliveries when they arrive to his house.
How He Handles His Packages
You do need to use care when ripping open a box or unpacking your food. "We know that the virus for a limited period of time can live on what are called fomites, which are inanimate objects," Dr. Fauci said in the interview. "So what I do, for example, when something comes—the package, you know, I don't scrub it down. I just leave it on the side for a couple of days before I open it. And even that is probably overkill, because most of the things we're talking about, this is fundamentally a respiratory-borne virus. Even though there is the possibility, if not the reality, of some small part of it being transmitted by things that you can touch." His advice? "I think washing hands really so much obviates the need to be cleaning everything around you. [That's] the one thing you could do very easily."
The Virus Has Been Shown to Spread on Surfaces
The CDC clarified that COVID-19 can be caught via surfaces, after an edit on its website in May implied otherwise. "The primary and most important mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person-to-person," wrote the agency. "Based on data from lab studies on COVID-19 and what we know about similar respiratory diseases, it may be possible that a person 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 isn't thought to be the main way the virus spreads."
They went on to describe how the virus mainly spreads. "The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people….In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. It may be possible that a person 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," they added. "This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads."
To Protect Yourself and Others
"The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus," says the CDC. "You can take steps to slow the spread."
- "Maintain good social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others."
- And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.
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