In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the coronavirus was everywhere – stuck to our cell phone screens, smeared on our mail, dangling from doorknobs, even clinging to our cereal boxes. Except that it wasn’t. Despite public health guidance suggesting surfaces be disinfected to stop the spread of COVID-19, the virus wasn’t significantly transmitted through inanimate surfaces and objects, what microbiologists call “fomites.” As with all respiratory viruses – from the flu to the common cold – transmission was and remains almost exclusively airborne. Emanuel Goldman, a professor of microbiology at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, was among the first scientists to challenge conventional wisdom by warning that hygiene theater – overzealous disinfection of surfaces – had “become counterproductive” for public health. In April 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agreed. To read the full story.