People are sick of wearing masks, wiping down their grocery carts, and sanitizing their hands every time they even think of touching a doorknob—so much so that there’s widespread rebellion against what we’ve come to view as basic hygiene practices in the time of COVID-19. We see evidence of this on the nightly news and social media throughout the day. What if we eased the “rules” a little, though—not because we’re bowing to people’s impatience but because the science supports doing so? That day is here, with news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s ready to close the curtain on what it called “hygiene theater.” While acknowledging that it’s possible for someone to become infected through touching a contaminated surface, the CDC says that risk is so low that it no longer recommends constantly sanitizing exposed surfaces. In issuing this updated guidance, however, the agency underscored that airborne transmission is as big a threat as has always been believed and reiterated the need to wear masks and maintain social distancing guidelines. It’s important for urgent care operators to note that the CDC recognizes the sometimes calming effect of seeing workers sanitize establishments they’re visiting (such as urgent care centers). Weigh the possible benefit of such “optics” vs the time it takes staff to clean surfaces that present little risk for spreading the virus. And, of course, keep patients informed of these breaking developments.
Could Refocusing on Respiratory Hygiene Be a Cure for Pandemic Fatigue?