Wiping down groceries to protect yourself from the coronavirus might be overkill, according to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency says in its updated guidelines that while it "may be possible" for someone to become infected by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching their face, it "does not spread easily" in this manner, USA Today reports. The risk of the virus spreading from animals to people or vice versa is also considered low. "COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads," the CDC says. "It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads."
The agency warned, however, that the virus "is spreading very easily" between people. Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer for WebMD, tells Fox that the updated guidance "may help reduce anxiety and stress." "Many people were concerned that by simply touching an object they may get coronavirus and that’s simply not the case," he says. "Even when a virus may stay on a surface, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually infectious,” Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, says infected surfaces are "little paths" and person-to-person contact is a "highway." "The safest thing is to continue social distancing, wear masks, and wash hands frequently and thoroughly," he says. (Read more coronavirus stories.)