It is possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. People can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 through contact with surfaces. However, based on available epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors, surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads, and the risk is considered to be low. The main way people get infected with SARS-CoV-2 is through exposure to respiratory droplets that carry infectious viruses.
In most situations, cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent, and not disinfecting, is enough to reduce the risk. Disinfection is recommended in closed community settings where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 24 hours. The risk of fomite transmission can be reduced by wearing masks consistently and correctly, practicing hand hygiene, cleaning and taking other measures to maintain healthy facilities. The COVID-19 virus can also be spread if someone touches their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching a surface or object with the virus.
Without cleaning or disinfection, the COVID-19 virus can stay on surfaces for hours to days. However, the risk of COVID-19 infection from contact with contaminated surfaces is low. The main route of infection with COVID-19 is not touching a contaminated surface but through the respiratory system. Instead, people should focus on wearing masks, especially N95 or KN95, and on social distancing as much as possible.