How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces – what do we know?
How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces? It is natural that with the spread of the disease around the globe, people worry and look for information. We want to point out something very important. Many experts warn that coronavirus could survive on surfaces for much longer than other germs. It is transmitted from one person to another through respiratory droplets produced when a nearby infected person coughs or sneezes. That is why health officials recommend a distance of at least 1,5 meters.
It is essential to understand that just touching a surface will not infect you. The infection will get into your body if you do not wash your hands after touching an infected surface and then touch your face. You should not be afraid that you touched the rail in the tube or the handrails in the bus. Just make sure you wash your hands as soon as possible and do not touch your face.
To minimize the spread of coronavirus scientists advised specific measures that everyone can take – washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, changing your clothes and shoes as soon as you get home and keeping the old pair outside the home on the balcony or the yard in a laundry basket. Disinfecting smartphones and electronics, worktops, door knobs, etc. with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe will also help prevent the spread of COVID – 19.
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People all over the world are taking measures to limit the spread by sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces. As we mentioned, a person can get the coronavirus if they come into contact with a surface or an object on which there are virus particles and then touches the mouth, nose or eyes. That is why washing your hands several times a day is a priority.
Health organizations have very little information about how long coronavirus can survive on surfaces. Based on research about other coronaviruses, the information is that COVID – 19 virus may live present on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days and the life of coronavirus depends on many factors, including ambient temperature, humidity of the environment, and the type of material. A new research from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that the virus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The coronavirus can also survive in the air for up to three hours, according to the study authors. However, this research still needs to be reviewed by other scientists. A report from Harvard University explored how long the virus can live on surfaces and the conclusion is that so far the virus is transmitted less easily from soft surfaces than from frequently-touched hard surfaces, such as a doorknob or elevator button but generally, there is no clear answer yet.
It is obvious that data is still being collected but based on the lifespan of the similar SARS coronavirus on various surfaces and as per Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, the findings are likely to apply to SARS-CoV-2 (the new coronavirus). At a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celcius), SARS lasted:
- Less than 8 hours on latex
- 2 to 8 hours on aluminum
- 24 hours on cardboard ( paper)
- 3 days on steel
- 4 days on wood
- 4 days on glass
- 5 days on metal
- 5 days on ceramics
- 5 days on plastics (but one strain survived up to 9 days on plastic).
According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is likely to act as other coronaviruses and based on that, people would know what to expect. The virus is more stable and will last longer in wet, cool environments, white hot and dry conditions are not good for it. The reason for this is that the layer of fat that protects virus particles while they move from person to person in the air dries out at high temperature which kills the virus. Generally, high humidity, moderate temperatures, low wind, and solid surfaces are beneficial for the survival of the coronavirus.
The good news is that studies on different coronaviruses show that disinfecting surfaces helps a lot. That is why we remind you that you have to wash your hands with water and soap, use hand sanitizer and disinfect surfaces. This will help you reduce the chances of getting coronavirus significantly.