COVID-19 Updates: CDC Stresses Ventilation Over Sanitation, Vaccine Availability for All U.S. Adults by June 1, Vaccinated Travel Considered Safe

Diverse people waiting for Covid-19 vaccine sitting in queue in hospital waiting room.

At least 131 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, April 5, 2021, including at least 2.85 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported at least 30.8 million positive COVID-19 cases and at least 555,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

At least 665 million individual does of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 165 million in the United States. Source: GitHub

CDC stresses ventilation over sanitation

Those who operate public facilities, from schools to restaurants, should be more focused on their efforts to appropriately ventilate their premises as opposed to being overly concerned with sanitation stations to prevent COVID-19 spread.

According to new guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the odds of passing along of the virus through surface contact is considered to be as low as 1 in 10,000. On porous surfaces, studies report an inability to detect viable virus within minutes to hours; on non-porous surfaces, viable virus can be detected for days to weeks.

The apparent, relatively faster inactivation of COVID on porous compared with non-porous surfaces might be attributable to capillary action within pores and faster aerosol droplet evaporation. Data from surface survival studies indicate that a 99% reduction in infectious COVID and other coronaviruses can be expected under typical indoor environmental conditions within three days (72 hours) on common non-porous surfaces like stainless steel, plastic, and glass.

However, experimental conditions on both porous and non-porous surfaces do not necessarily reflect real-world conditions, such as initial virus amount and factors that can remove or degrade the virus, such as ventilation and changing environmental conditions. They also do not account for inefficiencies in transfer of the virus between surfaces to hands and from hands to mouth, nose, and eyes. In fact, laboratory studies try to optimize the recovery of viruses from surfaces (for example, purposefully swabbing the surface multiple times or soaking the contaminated surface in viral transport medium before swabbing). When accounting for both surface survival data and real-world transmission factors, the risk of fomite transmission after a person with COVID-19 has been in an indoor space is minor after 72 hours, regardless of when it was last cleaned.

Although it is possible for people to be infected with the virus through contact with surfaces, based on available epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors, surface transmission is not the main route of spread and the risk is considered to be low. The principal mode by which people are infected is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.

In most situations, cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent, and not disinfecting, is enough to reduce risk. Disinfection is recommended in indoor community settings where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 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.

Based on limited epidemiologic and experimental data, the risk of infection from entering a space where a person with COVID-19 has been is also low after 24 hours. During the first 24 hours, the risk can be reduced by increasing ventilation and waiting as long as possible before entering the space (at least several hours, based on documented airborne transmission cases) and using personal protective equipment (including any protection needed for the cleaning and disinfection products) to reduce risk.

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Vaccine availability for all U.S. adults: June 1

According to members of the Biden administration, all adults in the United States can expect to have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May. This news comes despite the contamination of millions of vaccine doses in Baltimore. According to various reports, some officials are calling for second doses of the two-dose vaccines to be delayed as cases spike and variants continue to spread in an attempt to give more first doses to more people.

This strategy suggests that second doses not be given until 12 weeks following the first dose, as opposed to the current three- or four-week intervals. Michigan and other states have experienced a surge in hospitalizations that resemble statistics from July 2020 and January 2021. The U.S. has reported approximately 60,000 new cases per day during the last week, a number that’s below the country’s January peak but similar to the surge seen in the summer.

CDC considers vaccinated travel safe

Individuals who have completed COVID-19 vaccination and are considered to be fully vaccinated (two weeks following second vaccine shot in a two-dose series; two weeks after single-dose vaccine) are considered to be only at low risk to travel, according to new guidance by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The new guidance is reportedly based on data that shows “real world” effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and claims that fully vaccinated travelers do not need to follow the CDC’s recommendation to get tested for COVID-19 before and after travel. However, the guidance states that fully vaccinated people should still wear masks and take other common COVID-19 precautions such as social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene.

Those who are previously vaccinated must also still have a negative COVID-19 test to get on international flights to the United States. It is also suggested that another test be conducted 3-5 days after traveling.

Stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news developments. Visit our Resource Center each week for new COVID-19 updates—plus a variety of other resources for healthcare professionals.

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