How Long Can The Coronavirus Survive on Different Surfaces?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Many people are wondering about this question—how long does the coronavirus remain transmittable on the various surfaces we come in contact with every day?  Although there are still many unknowns about the coronavirus and COVID-19, we have pulled together some information for you.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), via Axios: “Traces of the novel coronavirus were found in the cabins on the Diamond Princess cruise ship up to 17 days after passengers left, a study published by the CDC Monday found.

“Why it matters:  Axios health care editor Sam Baker: ‘The virus lives a long time on hard surfaces, and that’s another reason to be wary about quickly reopening businesses like bars, restaurants and gyms while the virus is still spreading quickly.’

“Per the CDC, ‘Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite [objects or materials that may be contaminated with an infectious virus and serve in the] transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted.’”

From KQED Science:  According to according to a study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the coronavirus can linger on plastic surfaces for up to 3 days, while on stainless steel the numbers began plummeting after just 4 hours, becoming undetectable by about 48 hours.  On copper and cardboard, the virus was undetectable by 8 hours and 48 hours, respectively.

“Because the virus that causes COVID-19 is, like other microbes, so durable, thoroughly washing hands after touching surfaces that anyone else might have touched—or not touching them in the first place—is the first line of defense against infection.”

From Harvard Health:  “A study done by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Laboratory of Virology in the Division of Intramural Research in Hamilton, Montana helps to answer this question.  The researchers used a nebulizer to blow coronaviruses into the air.

“There's a lot we still don't know, such as how different conditions, such as exposure to sunlight, heat, or cold, can affect these survival times.

“As we learn more, continue to follow the CDC's recommendations for cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.”

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