There has been a flurry of new information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recent weeks. The newly published science brief, titled SARS-CoV-2 and Surface (Fomite) Transmission for Indoor Community Environments, states that the primary way that people become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets in the air. The brief also states that the risk of exposure through contact with surfaces or objects that are contaminated is considered to be “generally low.”

This is good news for the banking, ATM, and retail industries who faced confusion early on in the pandemic as to whether or not cash was safe to handle. While the CDC had stated months ago that cash was safe to handle, this recent statement by the organization further codifies the fact that cash is safe to use.

The CDC’s brief states in no uncertain terms, “The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.”

Washing Hands and Keeping Surfaces Clean

The CDC also stresses the importance of washing hands and cleaning surfaces, such as cash registers and ATMs to reduce the risk of transmission. “Cleaning reduces the amount of soil (e.g., dirt, microbes and other organic agents, and chemicals) on surfaces, but efficacy varies by the type of cleaner used, cleaning procedure, and how well the cleaning is performed… In addition to physical removal of SARS-CoV-2 and other microbes, surface cleaning can be expected to degrade the virus.”

In their conclusion, the CDC states, “The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 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.”

In the United States we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and ATM owners can do their part by keeping their facilities clean by providing easy access to cash, which has been readily used by Americans even during the worst months of the pandemic.

We can do this!

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