Unlike 100 years ago, we spend most of our time indoors (~80%) and work in larger and larger buildings, stadiums, cruise ships, malls, etc. Thus we touch more surfaces in a day that other people have touched than any other generation in history. Thus, surfaces (fomites) play an increasing role in the spread of common infections. The world we live in has become more germy – not less.
Almost 90% of all common infections (colds, flus, diarrhea) can be spread through the environment – i.e., soil, water, food and fomites.
In studying the movement of viruses in offices a virus placed on an entrance doorknob to an office building will appear on ~50% of the office workers’ hands and commonly touched surfaces in four hours.
The germest areas in the office are phone, desk top and computer equipment. In the home it is the sponge, sink, cutting board. Cleanest is the top of a toilet seat.