With coronavirus cases around the world now at over 35 million, scientists have been working around the clock to understand how the virus spreads.
Now, experts from the University of California claim that the virus does not spread through touching surfaces like door handles and light switches.
Speaking to Nautilus, Monica Gandhi, a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said: “It’s not [spread] through surfaces. There was a lot of fear at the beginning of the pandemic about fomite transmission.
“We now know the root of the spread is not from touching surfaces and touching your eye.
“It’s from being close to someone spewing virus from their nose and mouth, without in most cases knowing they are doing so.”
Dr Gandhi’s claims contradict the findings of a study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana.
Their analysis suggests that the virus can survive for up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
The researchers said: “Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 are plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”
Dr Gandhi says that that the easiest way to catch the virus is by getting exposed to someone else’s mouth and nose secretions.
For that reason, she recommends wearing a mask while you’re out of the house.
She added: “People can feel perfectly healthy and still be shedding the virus at high rates from their nose and mouth. You can spew them out when you’re talking or coughing or singing or walking around and talking.”