There’s bad news and there’s good news about catching coronavirus from surfaces.
The bad news is that the virus can live for a maximum of three days on common surfaces found in everyday life, like plastic or steel, according to the recently released paper, “Aerosol and Surface Stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Compared to SARS-CoV-1.”
HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is the source of COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health study concluded that the SARS virus could live on cardboard for just 24 hours, but survive on plastic and steel for up to three days.
“We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel,” the study found.
Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing also maintains that coronavirus has a life expectancy of up to three days.
The good news: household cleaners can kill the virus. And if touching eyes, nose or mouth with an infected hand is avoided, a person most likely won’t transmit coronavirus. (RELATED: LIVE UPDATES: Here’s What Every State In America Is Doing To Combat The Spread Of Coronavirus)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted: “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
A study published in February in The Journal of Hospital Infection assessed how similar viruses have reacted in the past. The conclusion suggested that some viruses can survive on surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for nine days. An ordinary flu virus has a life expectancy of about 48 hours.
The paper showed that temperatures above 86 degrees greatly reduce that time. Most importantly, the study also found that household disinfectants or bleach can kill the virus. So its advisable to clean the surfaces that are reachable and available for disinfecting and avoid contacting those that aren’t. If a person touches a contaminated surface, washing hands and using hand sanitizer is recommended. (RELATED: Here’s A List Of How Every Country In The World Is Responding To Coronavirus)
The key to avoiding coronavirus, in the absence of a verified vaccine or cure, is self-regulation and staying alert. As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the U.S., the president, governors and multiple mayors are and have been prompted to use every method at their disposal to contain the disease.
Bars, casinos, gyms, restaurants and theaters are being shut down in numerous states. Four states moved to do so Monday.
But the advice that has consistently been provided to Americans is that personal hygiene is paramount in staying safe in this crisis. The health officials have told people to wash their hands thoroughly, keep at least six feet away from others, avoid touching faces, cover mouths when coughing, shun crowds, stay away from unknown surfaces and clean those that are possible.