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Covid19 Surface Transmission

Recently I stayed at a hotel for work purposes. The cleanliness was okay as far as I could tell but reviews are mixed on typical review sites, some stating clean, others not. I had no cleaning products so I used hand sanitizer with my own clean cloth to clean the only table which I placed my laptop/phone and keys on to do do some work. Even after I used the faucet handles, I sanitized my hands. I cannot recall touching my face, mouth or nose. COVID19 is relatively low in my area of the country (NJ/PA) and my anxiety got the better of me that I actually left after 2-3 hours of my stay and drove home. Normal check in time is 4PM and checkout time is 11AM. So quite a bit of time even if the last person had left any respiratory droplets on said table. The room was also rather hot when I entered. I'm probably reaching but do I have much to be concerned about? I always wear my mask in public and keep 6ft distance whenever I'm around anybody not wearing a mask.
4 Responses
134578 tn?1614729226
My guess would be that if the a/c had been going full tilt and someone had only recently been in the room who had a shedding stage of coronavirus and had been coughing and not masked, you'd have been in more danger of breathing in virus particles (that had been harbored by and spread by the air-conditioning unit) than you would have ever been in from surfaces.

It seems like you don't have a lot to be concerned about, though, given all that you have described. I know it's hard not to be nervous, but you weren't in close contact with anyone who would be coughing out the virus or spreading it by talking loudly or singing, or anything like that.
Avatar universal
Nobody can be 100% certain about such things, but the surfaces issue (and even the issue of droplets still hanging around in the air for awhile after someone has left a closed room) are at this point theoretical only.  Contact tracing hasn't yet found, to my knowledge, anyone who got it solely in this way, they all had some extended contact with someone breathing on them.  So while nobody can tell you for sure because there is virus to be found on surfaces and in the air (and the water in the sewers, for that matter), whether or not it is enough of an exposure to infect someone is a whole other question and so far hasn't proven to be the problem, the problem is people breathing on one another in close proximity not wearing a mask for an extended period of time.  Whatever the case turns out to be, anxiety is never useful.  Peace.
Avatar universal
I’m a believer in droplet and aerosol transmission more than surface contact. I am wary of doorhandles and hate it when I see people pull down their masks to sneeze on the groceries. Washing hands after being out in public and not touching face seem like reasonable precautions.
ppowb, I think those are reasonable precautions whether there's a pandemic or not!  With flu season coming up in the northern hemisphere, practicing disease-prevention hygiene is a good habit to get into. EVEN IF COVID isn't transmitted by surface contact, we know that colds and flu can be, and it's a good idea to try to prevent those, too.  I think this pandemic has made me more conscious of not touching my face while out in public until I've had a chance to wash my hands.
Is that true that flu and colds are transmitted by touching surfaces?  If it is it's new to me, so I'd like to know.  I always thought you got them the same way you get covid, which is by being breathed on through close contact with someone who has it.  Because colds are nearly the same structure as covid, it would seem transmission would be the same.  Again, I don't know.  I don't know you can't get covid from surfaces, it just doesn't seem anyone really is.  The common cold has been around for so long it's everywhere and so we're probably always in contact with it.  Anyway, just wondering.
You can get colds from touching surfaces, but it's far more likely that you'd get a cold from someone who has one.



"Cold and flu virus-laden droplets may remain infectious for several hours, depending on where they fall. Viruses generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces. Other factors, such as the amount of virus deposited on a surface and the temperature and humidity of the environment, also determine how long cold and flu viruses stay active outside the body.

It's possible to catch the flu or a cold after handling an object an infected person sneezed or coughed on a few moments ago. But personal contact with an infected person — such as a handshake or breathing in droplets from a cough or sneeze — is the most common way these viruses spread."

Covid is the same, or similar. Surface transmission is theoretical, but not at all likely.

But this doesn't answer my question.  It does tell me that, theoretically, because the virus lives on surfaces for awhile, you can get it, but it doesn't tell me if in fact anyone does get it this way.  Again, I compare it to HIV, which originally was thought to pass from oral sex because the virus is present, but because nobody was ever found who got it that way, we're now told that's not a risk.  But the virus is present, it just doesn't seem to pass that way.  So my question stands, have people been found and contact traced who got the flu or a cold by touching a surface, or is this just a theoretical possibility because the virus can stay alive -- that doesn't mean you can get infected from it.  I ask because it applies to covid as well.  There has been a tremendous focus on surfaces with businesses and schools boasting about how often they are sanitizing, but people are still getting the virus in droves, though it might be going down if the decreased testing isn't the reason.  And the reason given is always the same:  people gathering and breathing on one another while not wearing masks.  Why would the cold or the flu be any different?  This isn't really a concern all that much, we've all gotten colds and wondered where it came from and maybe it was touching a surface, but if that's not really true than it probably isn't true for covid either and we can save a lot of resources by putting our focus where it does the most good.  Peace.
Avatar universal
I read that colds are caused by common corona viruses, so while one might differ slightly from the next, precautions for avoiding transmission is likely the same for all.

I am wondering if flu season will be much of an issue this year with everyone masked up. I remember a chart from early this year showing flu transmission decreasing as people started Covid precautions

ppowb It might not be much of an issue in indoor settings like stores because people mask up, often by law now. Which is a good thing for people who take precautions, since it cuts the odds of being infected by someone who doesn't care.
But on the flip side, I was reading an article about why US and Canada have different rates of transmission which stated that for the last 3 months most transmission in Canada has been spread by those under 40 who mainly don't view it as a serious potential health issue. 28 % of people surveyed in some provinces say they take no precautions including handwashing against Covid, so although those people might have to mask up in a store you can bet they don't whenever they can get away with it at a party. Southern hemisphere countries flu season is almost ended with very little cases this season and in South Africa there was 3 times as many people taking the flu vax this year as normal which is an indication they were concerned about disease and probably took care ot avoid it whenever possible,
however in the US there is a different culture among some (coronavirus parties where people try to be the first infected to win a prize comes to mind) so we will see how that works out in our upcoming flu season.
I think it will be regional as it is with covid, but the flu probably won't move about the country with the ease covid does because the flu never has.  Because we learned to just live with colds and the flu, none of us really did much to prevent getting it.  The reason is, for all you hear about people dying from the flu, the only people who did were very old sick people and the very young who, contrary to what you hear from the US gov't, don't yet have fully functioning immune systems and get sick all the time and are therefore likely to die as well from stuff.  For most people, the flu isn't much of a danger, so although it's quite a killer, it isn't for most of us.  On the other hand, when a particularly severe and new form of flu comes around, you get an epidemic or a pandemic, which is what happened in 1918 and to a lesser extent with swine flu.  Anything we haven't been exposed to for years and years and years we don't have the mechanism to fight as well (I would say, though, that 1918 was a very exception year and you never hear anyone talk about that.  We had our healthiest people getting it because they had been worn down by WWI and the economic toll it took on the world, so you can't really generalize from that one).  Canada has a completely different situation as a nation because they don't have the awful leadership the hardest hit countries have and so they drove the virus down.  If you do that, you can open up with less consequence, but Canada has a lot of parts of it that are just as wild as the US but they also have a lot fewer people.  It's a very large country with very few people, so a lot of space for everyone.  In the US, we have people who are ideologically determined to spread the virus because they support a political movement that believes there is no virus.  Unless that large group of people disappears, the US flu season might just be pretty normal unless we all get vaccinated and the vaccine makers guess right this year and it actually includes the strain that hits, which doesn't usually happen.  So don't expect flu to be subnormal and get the shot this year even if you usually don't, as I intend to do for the first time in my life.  We just can't count on Americans to do the right thing.  Peace.
Right after I posted, I read a CNN article that in Europe over 40s have lately been getting a much bigger % of the higher numbers because they are now taking more risks. I had assumed that people over 40 who are at risk are getting smarter and wary of this disease enough to protect themselves instead of doing things like going into restaurants for some mainly masked up meal sitting in range of strangers who can infect them (for some reason this experience is appealing to people) , etc. but such isn't happening per that article. So I've changed my mind and believe anything can happen in any country until everyone decides to stop rolling dice with their health.
In summary, I don't know what event (s?) will have to occur for people to be careful enough to stop the spread, but it's looking like the spread might have a chance to stop only with the advent of a Covid vax and/or rapid testing. This week one company has applied to the FDA with an extremely accurate test that they intend for businesses like stadiums where people can be tested onsite and each will receive a text within 5 minutes stating if they are negative. There are already somewhat relatively fast tests home tests approved that a CNN article last week said might stop the spread at a cost of $55B over a few months, which is nothing compared to the cost of the diseases not slowing down.
...until everyone decides to ....  sb until enough people decide to ..                          
I meant there will always be people who don't care but if enough do care coupled with a techno fix the virus can be stamped out or at least cut to tiny numbers.
I think this is a case where leadership mattered, but leadership can apparently only stay firm on a virus for a short period of time whereas in wartime it seems much easier to get people to stay on course.  During WWII the American people didn't have the resistance to rationing, which was quite severe, or socialism, that it has with covid.  Perhaps we've just changed as a people, but whatever it is, Europe is indeed starting to have surges because of a lack of discipline.  But they are also reacting to that by instituting greater severity again, whereas the US seems to have given up and written off any0ne susceptible to the worst form of the virus.  So at least in the US, only a vaccine will save us now.  Even quick testing only works if there are consequences for not taking a test, requirements to take a test, a test that is not only accurate but repeatable over and over, and is used for everyone in the entire country, as the virus just moves from a place that tightens up to a place that hasn't and won't.  It's up to us now unless we get a change in gov't at both the state and nat'l level, and we can't count on that.  Peace.
And I say this partly because I live in a place that did pretty well with the virus, but as soon as it opened up there are young people everywhere congregating without masks and I'm seeing older and older people joining them.  The county where I live has started cracking down supposedly, but I don't see it when I go out.  I walk at night, and I see people returning from or heading to the area where the restaurants and bars are and they are all over on the weekends and none are wearing masks or distancing.  And I don't live in Trump country, far from it, and in that part of the country nobody ever really locked down.  I guess we are who we are, and we benefit from the strengths that gives us and are now seeing how bad the weaknesses are in the fires out west and with covid.  Peace again.
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