Russo: Surface Transmission is Low, But Continue Thorough Hand Washing

Updated April 8, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new scientific brief that says your risk of contracting COVID-19 from a surface is about 1 in 10,000. That means, on average, you have a 0.01 percent chance of actually picking up the virus from, say, touching a counter. Thus, if you happen to touch a contaminated surface, there may not be enough living virus on it to cause illness if you were to then touch your nose, mouth or eyes. But you may also have a higher chance of infection under the right conditions, says Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “If you’re in an indoor environment where someone is infectious, they breathe viral particles on a surface, you instantly touch it and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can get infected,” he says, emphasizing that continuing to wear a mask and good hand hygiene “will essentially prevent that.”