The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated agency guidelines on cleaning surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the latest in yet another series of flip-flops from the CDC regarding the virus.
Notably, the CDC said that despite having, over the past year, encouraged businesses and public buildings to scale back on their hours in order to allow for regular deep-cleanings, doing so did little to prevent the pandemic spread.
The risk of transmission from touching surfaces is low, it noted, and cleaning once daily without disinfectant should be fine unless you know someone with COVID-19 has been nearby.
“Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools, and homes where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours,” the CDC guidance reads.
The update suggests previous hysteria over wiping down and cleaning surfaces that led to widespread shortages of cleaning products may have been misguided.
At the panic’s peak, bottles of hand sanitizer and Lysol, long vanished from store shelves or restricted by retailers, were selling for hundreds of dollars via the online black market.
Critics have been hard on the CDC for changing advice as the pandemic has progressed, arguing that the once-respected health institution’s credibility has eroded over its inconsistent pandemic response.
Initially, health officials pushed a public relations campaign of “15 days to flatten the curve” before resuming normal daily activities.
That was followed by months of draconian lockdowns and mask-wearing mandates, even though little scientific evidence supported claims that the measures were mitigating the spread.
Some Twitter users celebrated the newly updated CDC guidance, while others reacted more sharply:
? New CDC guidance now admits fomite (surface) transmission of #SARSCoV2 is very rare and low. Glad science is updating.
This also means droplets and aerosols (Microdroplets) are the the main #COVID19 culprits.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 6, 2021
The most exciting part of absorbing new, often belated, CDC guidance is the white-knuckle thrill ride waiting for the inevitable contradictory walk-back!
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 2, 2021
I feel like every piece of CDC post-vax guidance is like, “You can do whatever you want, but you might kill everyone around you. Good luck!”
— Rebecca Fishbein (@bfishbfish) April 2, 2021
The guidance goes on to say:
“If more than 24 hours have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, cleaning is enough. You may choose to also disinfect depending on certain conditions or everyday practices required by your facility.
If more than 3 days have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, no additional cleaning (beyond regular cleaning practices) is needed.”
The CDC has taken fire for contradicting the accepted guidance on COVID-19. In September, the agency had to remove information from their website, saying it was a mistake.
At other times, its micromanaging of activities has appeared over-the-top. Ahead of Halloween, the CDC warned Americans about celebrating the fall festivities, particularly touching fruits that had been touched by others.
“Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing,” the CDC said, calling these traditions “moderate risk activities.”
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.