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VERIFY: Can the soles of shoes carry COVID-19?

Based on the research, our Verify team says yes, shoe soles can carry the virus. But it's not something you should be alarmed about.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

Is there evidence that the soles of shoes can carry COVID-19?

ANSWER:

Yes, shoe soles can carry coronavirus, but typically it will happen in areas where the virus is overwhelmingly present.

Ultimately, if you’re social distancing and washing your hands, this isn’t something medical experts seem to be too worried about.

SOURCES:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Emerging Infectious Diseases

Cleveland Clinic

PROCESS:

Even with stay-at-home orders and social distancing, odds are most of us have gone outside either to knock out an errand or exercise, and all while trying to avoid contact with anything that might carry COVID-19.

But with the focus of staying healthy and clean right now, we might be ignoring one specific thing. So the Verify team researched and used the above sources to determine if the soles of shoes carry the coronavirus.

In the EID study out of Wuhan, China, cited on the CDC website, it showed that half of health care workers surveyed in one hospital were found to have coronavirus on their shoes.

But before you get worried, keep this in mind: The materials tested were from health care workers in an intensive care unit, so it's unlikely that the average person is at risk of coming in contact with the virus through shoes.

Additionally, the CDC states a person can get coronavirus by touching an infected surface, then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, "this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

Dr. Joseph Khabbaza, a pulmonary and critical care specialist with the Cleveland Clinic, also writes, "The idea that this coronavirus can be carried on shoes also hasn’t been tested outside of a medical setting where patients with active infections are staying."

Khabbaza added, "It's likely spread mainly from person-to-person through droplets that fly out of a sick person’s mouth when they cough, sneeze or talk."

So based on the research, we can verify, yes, shoe soles can carry coronavirus, but typically it will happen in areas where the virus is overwhelmingly present.

Dr. Jyotu Sandhu told CBS8 in San Diego this isn’t something medical experts seem to be too alarmed about.

"If you're not putting yourself in situations where there's just a cluster of people who are not taking care of themselves, then chances are you're doing your job and you're doing OK," he said.

Ultimately, keep focusing on social distancing and washing your hands to mitigate the spread of the virus.

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