Tuesday 26 October 2021
How Long Does COVID-19 Live on Different Surfaces?
May 28, 2020 | By - Raghav Gupta

How Long Does COVID-19 Live on Different Surfaces?

Coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5.7 million people globally as on 28 May 2020. As the risk of virus infection rises, people are more concerned about their well being and preventive measures. From adapting to habits like hand sanitizers and masks to opting for social distancing,

people are following every preventive measure which is essential to curb the spread of Coronavirus. After a five-month long Coronavirus battle, many countries have opened the cities, in a hope to push start the economy again.

As shops and other areas reopen there is a major question on everyone’s mind about how long can COVID-19 live on surfaces. Everyone wants to know the answer to better protect them from virus effects. 

So, Let’s see how long can COVID-19 live on different surfaces

How long does COVID-19 live on metal surfaces?

According to a study published in New England Medical Journal Coronavirus can live from hours to days on different types of surfaces. Researchers in the United States looked at the survival of Coronavirus on surfaces like plastic, copper, stainless steel, and cardboard. 
On copper and cardboard, it was no longer detectable after four and 24 hours respectively.

Some studies and reports even claim that COVID 19 lives on surfaces for many days but no substantial evidence has been found yet to back such claims. The virus undoubtedly lives more than other viruses and bacteria but its life on copper is the same as others due to the antibodies and minerals present in the substance.  

Can COVID-19 live on a plastic surface?

The study revealed that Coronavirus was detected on plastic and stainless steel after 72 hours. However, the viability of Coronavirus declined over time. Its efficacy became almost negligible at the end of the trial period. 
The virus also existed on Glass surfaces for four days.

SOunds shocking isnt it? This might answer why people are getting infected even if they are maintaining social distancing but somehow, get in contact with the virus. Similar to its strength on other material forms except for copper, its efficacy declined over time. It became almost inefficient near the end of the fourth day. 

How does COVID-19 live on soft surfaces?

Soft surfaces like clothes and currency notes provide a suitable environment for any type of virus to breed. Moisture and existing bacteria present in them provide a safe harbour. Regular washing of clothes and sanitization of currency notes can help in removal of harmful viruses and bacteria from them.

The study found that Coronavirus can survive for four complete days on currency notes. Due to its rapid transfer nature, notes also become a biggest source of infection. People across the world often touch their eyes, mouth, and head while counting notes. In some parts, they also use saliva while counting notes. This can lead to transfer of infection from one person to another at a very high rate. 

Clothes and masks are also a dense breeding point for viruses. On normal clothing, the virus can stay for around two days. Experts recommend washing after every time you wear a garment to eliminate the risk of catching Coronavirus from your clothes. 

Outer layer of surgical masks is very prone to catching Coronavirus. It has little pores that capture the virus in them. Masks should be properly discarded after usage. Coronavirus was recorded to stay for seven days on the outer layer of masks.

The bottom line

Some studies have been performed on how long can COVID-19 live on different surfaces. The virus strives for the longest periods on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. It is less firm on cloth, paper, and cardboard. We do not know yet how long can COVID-19 live in food and water. However, there have been no documented cases of COVID-19 that are related to food, drinking water, or food packaging.

Even though COVID-19 can become inactivated in hours to days, the exact dose that can lead to infection still is not known. It is still important to appropriately clean high-touch or potentially contaminated household surfaces. Maintain proper hand hygiene and care to eliminate viruses from surroundings.


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