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    • A fomite is a contaminated surface, and it is possible for pathogens to be transmitted from person to person via fomites. However, person-to-person transmission will always be the number one mode of transmission for any infectious disease. Number two will probably be vectors, like mosquitoes. Transmission via fomites though possible isn't really that common since it can only occur if three conditions are met: 1) an infected person contaminates an inanimate object; 2) the pathogen survives on the inanimate object long enough to come in contact with another person; 3) the new host actually touched a fomite and then proceeds to touch his/her face without washing their hands. There are many places in this transmission process where prevention can stop the chain, and COVID-19 being a virus makes step 2 even less likely as viruses can't survive and propagate without a host.

      Most (all?) outbreaks that I've read of are results of direct contact between positive cases. I don't think any outbreak that has happened has been traced back to contaminated surfaces.

    • Well, this is what we thought at first, right? It does seem like the narrative keeps changing. First it’s person-to-person like handshakes. Then it’s staying on surfaces for hours and infecting people that way. I wish we could get a straight, consistent story on this. Anyone else feel this way?

    • That's how science works though. You formulate a hypothesis based on current understanding of the subject matter, then when evidence presents itself the hypothesis will either be supported or rejected. Then the cycle repeats itself. There's no way around it. You can't get facts without evidence, so until evidence is found you can only make assumptions based on what is already known.

      With regards to COVID-19, it's a novel strain of virus. Hence, we don't know anything about it except what can be deduced from our knowledge of other viruses. This includes modes of transmission, symptoms, treatments, etc. Rather than just saying "we don't know" when asked about it, scientists can instead say "we don't know, but based on our understanding of other infectious viruses, we think that.......", which is much better.

      And when it comes to infectious disease, there's no black and white answer. Some people get infected but don't show symptoms, some people get infected but show different severity to others, some people recover but get reinfected while others don't. So you see, even if we wanted to give direct and consistent answers, we couldn't because sometimes, the world is just inconsistent. The best we can do is give probabilities, which is why all science revolves around confidence intervals. It's like they say in Star Wars: Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

      Science is only "wrong" once proven wrong. Until then, it's just the scientific method.