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You’re at much less risk of catching the novel coronavirus by touching a contaminated surface than by standing close to people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently clarified on its website.

The subtle change, on a CDC page, emphasizes that the virus spreads easily between people, through droplets that spread up to around two metres or six feet away, when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets then land in the mouths or noses of others, or are possibly inhaled into the lungs.

“The virus does not spread easily in other ways,” including by touching surfaces, the website says. But that doesn’t mean touch is zero-risk.

“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. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” the CDC wrote.

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While this has been the CDC guidance for some time, the headline emphasizing that the virus does not spread easily this way was added to “clarify” the message,


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