The CDC has bad news for Purell.

“It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low,” they write in their latest guidance

How low? The chance of contracting coronavirus through surface transmission lower than 1 in 10,000, so all those hand sanitizers and wipes everywhere are a cultural placebo. It is simply “hygiene theater” like schools are engaging in when they do "deep cleaning" to reassure parents, who will then want to not have their taxes raised because schools are already paying teachers to give educational webinars while administrators are still being paid to do...well, there will be awkward questions after this is over about how the government education establishment let its high-priced bureaucracy get so out of control. And now must pay for super-duper cleaning of surfaces too.

What is a bigger concern? Since aerosolization is the worry - though even that has been hyped in papers - ventilation is a better investment.

How were we led to believe fomites were the problem?

So how did we become convinced that surface spreading was the big risk? The World Health Organisation, and its queasy relationship with China. Though former US President Trump Donald Trump was reviled as racist for wanting to ban travel from China last February, and his critics cited WHO as the reason he was wrong, it turned out they were not acting in the best interests of the public. They instead stood by as China, one of their largest donors, let the world's largest bat coronavirus lab in Wuhan destroy 22,000 samples, while China claimed COVID-19 was caused by meat from America.

China told them, and WHO repeated, first that coronavirus could not be transmitted human to human at all, and then it was in products like meat, not in the air.

The cautious public didn't know what to believe - Trump or WHO is not quite as ridiculous as asking whether to side with the Nazis or the Commies in the Spanish Civil War but you get an idea how bad the choices were - so people have been sanitizing everything.

It was good news for Clorox, but not really helping prevent disease.