When the COVID-19 pandemic first gained attention in late 2019/early 2020, few of us could have predicted that the world would still be battling SARS-CoV-2 and its variants over a year and a half later. Unfortunately, this modern pandemic is far from over, and experts believe that we may continue dealing with COVID-19 indefinitely. The good news, however, is that top medical researchers and providers have learned a lot about this novel coronavirus since it initially emerged. Today, we have access to multiple, highly effective vaccines that greatly reduce the risks of severe illness, hospitalizations, and death as a result of contracting the virus, along with a host of treatment options with high potential. Moreover, we now have a better understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 spreads and how to best mitigate this spread in various settings.
As is the case with any new information, however, it doesn’t take long for misinformation to muddy the waters. Even honest actors can get things wrong or believe something that’s been skewed or flat-out debunked. In today’s media environment, it’s not always easy to know who or what to believe, especially when it comes to scientific matters which are inherently in flux. Here at The Budd Group, we make it our mission to stay on top of the latest data regarding coronavirus disinfection and transmission so we can provide the safest and most effective services for our clients. Let’s explore and demystify five common misconceptions regarding the spread of COVID-19 in facilities like yours.
Misconception #1: Surface Disinfection Is the Sole Method for Removing COVID from Facilities
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts worked tirelessly to determine the primary method of spread for the virus. To play it safe, experts emphasized surface disinfection in homes and businesses alike. As more was discovered about the virus, it became clear that SARS-CoV-2 mainly spread via airborne or aerosolized particles, which led to the push for masking and social distancing. Today, the topic of air disinfection for coronavirus has gained footing due to the importance of proper ventilation and air circulation in facilities.
That said, the CDC notes that SARS-CoV-2 can indeed land and linger on surfaces, sometimes for hours before deactivating. So, while the risk of infection is low from touching surfaces, businesses should still invest in surface disinfection methods and encourage proper handwashing/sanitization for employees and customers. It’s also worth noting that not all surface disinfection methods are created equal. Only disinfectants registered by the EPA for specific use against coronaviruses should be used to combat SARS-CoV-2 in your facility. Additionally, electrostatic disinfection services such as those offered by The Budd Group provide more efficient and lasting surface protection against COVID.
Misconception #2: COVID Can Spread Through Water Supplies
When new viruses emerge, people naturally worry about the ways in which regular activities and systems might contribute to further infection. It’s no surprise, then, that some believed SARS-CoV-2 might be carried through water supplies and ingested by those on the other end. Fortunately, no evidence supports this theory. On the contrary, proper water treatment does a great job of eliminating numerous pathogens, including viruses and bacteria. So, if you’re wondering how to disinfect coronavirus in your facility or prevent its spread, don’t waste your time or energy worrying about your building’s water supply.
Misconception #3: Masks Are Ineffective at Preventing the Spread of COVID Indoors
For whatever reason, the issue of masking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has become a contentious issue for certain groups and individuals. And while masks (like vaccines and other methods) cannot entirely prevent the spread of this disease, they have been shown to help slow the spread in communities with high rates of masking indoors. The CDC points out that certain factors affect the efficacy of masking, such as the type of mask used (material, purpose), how well the mask fits (no gaps), how the mask is positioned (over nose and mouth) and more. Additionally, no significant adverse health effects have been found for regular mask-wearers -- claims of oxygen desaturation or respiratory issues related to mask-wearing have been labeled as false. In short, high-quality masks are important COVID-19 supplies for any facility, and enforcing the regular and proper use of masks indoors can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in your facility.
Misconception #4: Those Who Have Had a Previous Infection and/or Have Been Vaccinated Cannot Contribute to Further Spread
Now that more and more people have either been partially/fully vaccinated or contracted and recovered from the illness, many believe that there is no more risk among these individuals for transmitting or contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For starters, not everyone who has had COVID-19 will create the necessary antibodies for future immunity, and even those with natural immunity can become infected with another strain of SARS-CoV-2 or lose their immunity over time. And while fully vaccinated individuals enjoy strong immunity against SARS-CoV-2, breakthrough infections can occur in rare instances, and new variants may decrease one’s immunity. Health professionals are currently determining whether or not boosters/third doses of COVID-19 vaccines should be recommended and when they should be received. The bottom line is that COVID-19 is still a threat (granted, a greatly reduced threat) among those with some level of immunity. There is no silver bullet for eliminating this disease entirely.
Misconception #5: COVID Tests Are Always Accurate
Testing is an important tool in tracing and preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, even the best COVID tests are imperfect, and both false positives and negatives have been known to occur. On top of that, regular testing can become a major expense for your business, and expecting employees to test themselves on a regular basis might be impractical. With this in mind, testing should be a part of your facility’s measures to combat COVID-19, but you shouldn’t rely on testing to keep COVID out of your facilities. Instead, you should combine periodic testing/surveillance with improved ventilation/air circulation, professional disinfection services, and campaigns to encourage or require masking and/or vaccination among employees and customers.
The Budd Group will continue to follow guidelines and recommendations posed by authoritative organizations like the CDC, EPA, and FDA to provide our clients with the best protection against COVID-19 and other harmful pathogens. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158! And for more detailed information regarding facility cleaning and disinfection from the CDC, click here.