COVID-19: drop the bleach (bis) | Science | News | The sun

En fact, it is much less than that: “generally less than 1 in 10,000”, indicates the American public health (CDC) in a update made yesterday on its website. Studies on the subject are not numerous, the CDC found, since it is really not an easy question to study – it is particularly difficult to separate infections that arise through the air from those that are contracted. via surfaces. But work that has somehow managed to do so suggests that “every contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of causing infection,” the CDC’s website reads.

Certainly, some studies (which had caused a stir in the spring of 2020) found that SARS-CoV-2 could survive for a few days on certain surfaces, especially plastics and cardboard. The risk is therefore not zero, everyone agrees on this. But in the lab, the scientists did these tests with large amounts of the virus and made sure to “harvest” as much as possible by rubbing the surfaces well with cotton swabs. In practice, the chances are very slim that a number of viruses large enough to cause the disease will spread from the surface to the fingers, then from the fingers to the mouth or nose, and eventually into the respiratory tract.

So the question arises (again), I think: would it be time to “let go of the bleach”? It’s starting to make several scientific sources question the usefulness of cleaning everything all the time, whether Nature who denounced in January in his editorial the “too much attention paid to surfaces” or other expert opinions. A modeling published at the beginning of the year concluded that the risk of catching COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces is generally less than 1 in 1,000,000 (per 7 days) – or in a pinch, in really very extreme cases, 1 out of 10,000 when 5% of the population are carriers of the virus at the same time, which is huge.

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On the one hand, I can understand that the health authorities (not only in Quebec, but in many other places as well) are reluctant to lift certain obligations, such as the obligation of grocery stores and other businesses to wash each cart a by one after each use. As I said, these questions are difficult to document, so there is still some degree of uncertainty. The reflex to err on the side of caution can therefore be defended. All the studies and documents cited here recommend that you continue to disinfect your hands – which is apparently much more effective than cleaning everything.

But on the other hand, I don’t believe there is yet the slightest hint of scientific debate that COVID-19 is transmitted very mainly through the air, and that surfaces play in the worst possible way. case a minor role, if not infinitesimal. In addition, all this scouring comes with a cost to the merchants, in addition to adding some heaviness to the shopping of Mr. and Mrs. Everybody. At a time when we feel a “COVID fatigue” spreading, perhaps by lifting this obligation (even if it means keeping regular hand disinfection), we would lighten the burden on everyone, and that this would help to respect the other rules – those which are better founded in science, those which count the most. Not to mention that if we impose certain rules that go far beyond what science justifies, we then risk having less ear of the population when we ask them to follow the other instructions on the pretext that must “trust science” …

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