Exaggerated risk of transmission of COVID-19 by fomites

Published Online July 3, 2020 S1473-3099(20)30561-2

Emanuel Goldman

Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, New Jersey Medical School – Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07103, USA

In my opinion, the chance of transmission through inanimate surfaces is very small, and only in instances where an infected person coughs or sneezes on the surface, and someone else touches that surface soon after the cough or sneeze (within 1–2 h). I do not disagree with erring on the side of caution, but this can go to extremes not justified by the data. Although periodically disinfecting surfaces and use of gloves

are reasonable precautions especially in hospitals, I believe that fomites that have not been in contact with an infected carrier for many hours do not pose a measurable risk of transmission in non-hospital settings.

A more balanced perspective is needed to curb excesses that become counterproductive.



Earlier studies did not use real life situations.

In this video, Dr. Popper discusses a study that showed passive contact with bleach (what they are wiping shopping carts and everything else down with) was associated with a major increase in self-reported influenza.