This was in large part the focus of pandemic prevention efforts early on. Of late, focus has shifted to masks (along with a continued focus on social distancing) as understanding evolved to a more aerosol-based transmission. My question is: at this point, how big of a deal are things like hand-washing altogether?
While experts say it’s impossible to completely rule out the possibility that someone might touch a surface covered in coronavirus and then inadvertently become infected, there have been no documented cases of this happening in real life.
At the start of the pandemic, we wiped down our groceries because we weren’t sure. Now, experts say it’s not a major concern – although they continue to encourage good hand hygiene.
“I think that overall, while it is possible and can’t be ruled out, it seems unlikely given the way that we think the virus is transmitted,” said Dr. Todd B. Ellerin, an infectious disease specialist at South Shore Health in Massachusetts.
ISTM that at this point, it’s likely that the impact of all this hand-washing and disinfecting is minimal in terms of covid prevention. I suspect that public health officials continue encourage these measures because of a combination of: 1) they’re not completely sure that it’s ineffective, 2) it probably does help a bit, 3) it’s a good idea anyway for all sorts of other reasons, and 4) inertia - they started off stressing it and don’t see a compelling reason to back off, especially in light of the other 3 factors noted above.