There are a lot of public health measures you’re told to follow to keep yourself safe from COVID, so anytime a precaution can be struck from the list, there’s a sense of relief. For the time being, you do need to keep wearing your mask, social distancing, and avoiding crowds, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just said that you can drop one COVID precaution because it’s not actually helping you. Keep reading to find out which coronavirus mitigation measure you can ditch, and to make sure you’re staying safe, If You See This on Your Mask, the FDA Says Toss It Immediately.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many people wore gloves when handling their packages and avoided eating takeout for fear of getting COVID. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) squashed the theory that you could easily catch coronavirus from surfaces months ago. Per CDC guidelines, “Currently, there is no evidence that food is associated with spreading the virus that causes COVID-19″ and “the risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be very low.”
However, people have continued to disinfect their deliveries and fret over food. The FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just teamed up to address this concern. On Feb. 18, the agencies released a statement reminding people that they don’t need to be overly cautious with food and packaging out of a fear of contracting COVID. “Consumers should be reassured that we continue to believe, based on our understanding of currently available reliable scientific information, and supported by overwhelming international scientific consensus, that the foods they eat and food packaging they touch are highly unlikely to spread SARS-CoV-2,” the statement reads. And for precautions you should be aware of, Don’t Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.
The statement cited the sheer number of COVID cases—more than 100 million—which have not demonstrated any evidence that food or food packaging was the source of transmission. “Given that the number of virus particles that could be theoretically picked up by touching a surface would be very small and the amount needed for infection via oral inhalation would be very high, the chances of infection by touching the surface of food packaging or eating food is considered to be extremely low,” the statement notes. And for more on coronavirus transmission, This Is Where You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID, New Study Says
The statement goes on to point out that “it’s particularly important to note that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person, unlike foodborne or gastrointestinal viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis.” While these other viruses can infect people via contaminated food, experts believe the chances that COVID can do that are extremely remote. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
While it can’t hurt to disinfect the surfaces in your home frequently, you don’t have to do it on account of COVID, experts say. According to the CDC’s guidelines, “it is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.” However, they say, “touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.”
During a Dec. 28 interview with NPR, Emanuel Goldman, PhD, a microbiologist at Rutgers University, said disinfecting surfaces isn’t doing much to keep you safe from coronavirus because the infectious matter that helps spread COVID “decays very quickly.” Goldman went on to say, “In hospitals, surfaces have been tested near COVID-19 patients, and no infectious virus can be identified.” And for more precautions you can abandon, The CDC Says You Don’t Have to Do This Anymore Once You’re Vaccinated.