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Contracting COVID From Surfaces 1,000 Times Less Likely Than Air Transmission, New Research Says

BOSTON (CBS) -- For some time now, health officials have been warning us that you're more likely to catch COVID from breathing in contaminated air than you are from touching a contaminated surface. It turns out the risk from the air is far greater.

Remember at the beginning of the pandemic when we were wiping down all groceries and afraid to touch an elevator button? Well, we soon learned that you were more likely to catch the coronavirus from breathing in air than from touching a doorknob.

Turns out, the risk is probably much greater from air than from objects.

Researchers at the University of Michigan tested air and surface samples around campus during lockdown, including in offices, classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias. They found that the risk of surface transmission from things like keyboards, light switches, and desks is a thousand times less likely.

The researchers caution that a locked-down campus, where surfaces are cleaned regularly and large gatherings are prohibited, may not replicate other settings, like dorm rooms and homes where people are repeatedly touching the same surfaces.

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