China is testing door handles and couches for Covid-19 inside the Olympic bubble

A Chinese flag flutters in front of the IOC headquarters during a protest by activists of the International Tibet Network against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Februay 3, 2021 in Lausanne.

  • China has taken Covid-19 very seriously for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 
  • People in hazmats suits tested surfaces for the virus in the Olympic bubble, the AP reported. 
  • Public health experts have previously said the risk of catching Covid-19 from a surface is very low.
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Health workers in hazmat suits are testing door handles, couches, ATMs, and other surfaces in the Olympic bubble for Covid-19 despite experts saying there’s little risk of spreading the coronavirus from surfaces, the Associated Press reported. 

The Olympic village or “bubble” has limited contact between those participating in the games and the general population. 

Insider previously reported studies have suggested the chances of catching Covid-19 from contaminated surfaces were less than a 1-in-10,000 chance. 

A person if most likely to be infected through exposure to the virus in the air from someone talking, coughing, or sneezing. 

The AP reported that surface testing is part of a robust testing initiative inside the Olympic bubble. 

Deb Fuller, a virus expert at the University of Washington, told the AP the surface testing could be a means to see if someone with an infection was in the bubble. Fuller said traces of dead virus can linger on a surface after an infected person has left. 

“They may be testing the surfaces as a marker for whether virus was in the air recently,” she told the AP.

Fuller added that it could also be done out of habit or for show. The Atlantic previously reported the pandemic has brought on what some public health experts described as “hygiene theater,” where places are deep cleaned for reassurance, even if the measure may not be necessary to curb infections. 

This isn’t the first instance of China taking extreme measures over the Olympics. In December, six weeks before the games began, the country locked down an entire city of  200,000 residents over one case of Covid-19. All of the residents were then required to also get tested. 

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