ABA’s Benda Publishes Paper on COVID-19 Surface Contamination Risks

As banks manage the risks associated with physical transmission of the novel coronavirus, American Bankers Association SVP Paul Benda has authored a paper summarizing the current science on the risk of transmission through contaminated surfaces, such as ATM keypads and U.S. currency.

While much remains uncertain about how the novel coronavirus is transmitted, the available science indicates that indirect transmission, for example by contaminated surfaces, is “exceedingly rare,” writes Benda, who before joining ABA as SVP for risk and cybersecurity policy worked at the Pentagon, leading the response to the 2001 anthrax threats and developing systems to defend against biological and chemical attacks.

“Fundamentally, it appears that it is very difficult to become infected with [coronavirus]via contaminated surface transmission,” Benda writes. “With appropriate precautions, it is likely that the risk from fomites can be de minimis during shopping excursions out of the house and the focus should be ensuring appropriate social or physical distancing is maintained to minimize the risk from droplet/aerosol-based transmission.”