How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surface

How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surface

In December 2019, a new pandemic came into picture caused by the most recently discovered Coronavirus that has affected most of the countries around the world at a severe level. This new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 has caused illness COVID-19 (more popular name). This particular virus can easily survive on different surfaces and infect a person who comes in its direct contact, so it is crucial for every other person worldwide to have a clear understanding that how long does the coronavirus lasts on any surface.

The SARS-CoV-2 can easily transmit from one person to another especially through the respiratory droplets of a coronavirus infected person. So whenever any infected patient coughs or sneezes in front of a healthy person or persons in a group the risk of spreading this virus through his or her droplets remains extremely high especially when the person standing in front has not used any protection gear like masks etc.

This particular virus can easily live on a surface for a stipulated time. That means if you touch any contaminated surface area and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes then this virus can easily enter inside your body. However, it is important here to mention that this is not the primary way of this virus transmission or spreading.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, and fatigue. The less common symptoms of this infectious disease include headache, aches, pain, sore throat, nasal congestion, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, rash on the skin, discoloration of fingers or toes, and loss of taste or smell. The symptoms of this disease are generally mild in intensity and begin gradually. Some people who are diagnosed with this virus develop very mild symptoms.

In about 80% of cases of coronavirus, people recovered on their own by staying in quarantine and without any necessity of medical treatment or hospitalization. Every 1 out of 5 COVID-19 infected people turn seriously ill and face difficulty in breathing and chest pain in some cases.

People with weak immune systems such as older people or people with certain underlying medical issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart or lung disease, and cancer come in the high-risk group as if they develop this virus disease they can easily develop serious illness including the risk of death.

However, anyone can develop this infection and get seriously ill. As still there is no concrete treatment for this severe infection which is the current time pandemic circulating around the world, so its prevention is the only measure to ensure life and health safety for people of all age groups.

This new coronavirus can live on different surfaces for hours to many days time depending upon the specific material the surface is made up of. So here we have enlisted for you some common surfaces that come in the contact of your everyday life on which this virus can live for some duration and can make you infected if you touch them directly.

How long does coronavirus can survive on different surfaces?

how long does the coronavirus lasts on any surfaceThe new coronavirus can easily live on surfaces like doorknobs and countertops for hours to days. However, depending upon the particular material of a surface the survival duration of this virus depends. Below is the list of some surfaces on which coronaviruses, the family of viruses including the SARS-CoV-2 that has caused COVID-19 can live and survive-

Plastics

The coronavirus can easily survive on many objects or surfaces made up of plastic for 2 to 3 days including-

  • Milk containers
  • Water bottles
  • Detergent bottles
  • Backpacks
  • Subway or bus seats
  • Elevator buttons
  • Light switches
  • Keyboards and mouse
  • Remote controls
  • Toys
  • ATM buttons and Bank ATM cards

Metal

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects and surfaces made up of metals for 5 days including-

  • Doorknobs
  • Silverware
  • Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Equipment used in many industries

Stainless Steel

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects and surfaces made up of stainless steel for 2 to 3 days including-

  • Sinks
  • Refrigerators
  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Water bottles made up of stainless steel

Copper

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects and surfaces made up of copper for 4 hours including-

  • Cookware
  • Pennies
  • Teakettles

Aluminum

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects and surfaces made up of aluminum for 2 to 8 hours including-

  • Soda cans
  • Water bottles
  • Tinfoil

Wood

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects and surfaces made up of wood for up to 4 days including-

  • Decking
  • Furniture

Cardboard

The coronavirus can easily survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours including-

  • Shipping boxes

Glass

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects and surfaces made up of glass for up to 5 days including-

  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • Measuring cups
  • Drinking glasses

Paper

The coronavirus can live on paper but its survival duration varies. Like some strains of coronavirus survive for few minutes only, while others live for up to 5 days on paper including

  • Newspaper
  • Mail
  • Books

Ceramics

The coronavirus can easily survive on many different objects made up of ceramics for up to 5 days including-

  • Pottery
  • Dishes
  • Mugs

Food

As per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently, there is no news reported of the SARS-CoV-2 transmission through food or food packaging. However, still, the FDA strongly suggests maintaining food handling safety practices in order to avoid any such risk that may occur in the future. Examples include-

  • Food prepared at home
  • Ordered foods

Water

As per the CDC, there is no incident or evidence of SARS-CoV-2 presence in drinking water has found currently. However, if it happens in that case the local water treatment plant can filter and disinfects the water by killing any existing germs.

Skin and Hair

How long does the SARS-CoV-2 can live on the skin or hair surface for this no research has been conducted to date. However, as your hands are at high risk to come easily in the contact of a contaminated surface wherefrom the virus can linger on your hand and other skin areas of the body so it is vital for everyone to disinfect or wash their hands very frequently and thoroughly with soap or hand wash and water.

Shoes

A test conducted on the shoe soles of the medical personnel working in one of China’s hospital intensive care units or ICU which reveals that half of these testing shoe soles were detected positive due to the nucleic acids from the virus. However, it is not yet clear whether these substances of the virus has the capability to cause infection or not. Also in the general ward of the hospital where people with milder symptoms were admitted found less contaminated than the ICU.

Fabrics

There is no sufficient research to determine how long the SARS-CoV-2 can live on fabric, however, this virus most probably cannot live on fabrics as long as it can live on hard surfaces. Fabrics examples include-

  • Clothes
  • Linens

It is crucial to mention here that only the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on a surface doesn’t mean that you will contract it. This is because enveloped viruses such as coronaviruses are very sensitive to environmental conditions. Hence loses stability as time passes on.

So with time more and more amount of viral particles will get inactive and loses its ability to infect you when you come in its direct unsafe exposure. However, this doesn’t mean that you avoid safety measures while touching any potentially contaminated object or surfaces that contain the risk of virus transmission.

Does coronavirus get affected by the temperature and humidity?

Yes, factors like temperature and humidity definitely affect any viruses. Hence it is obvious for coronavirus too to get impacted by these environmental factors. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the coronaviruses survive only for a very short time under the high temperature and humidity level.

In a study by the Lancet article, it was found that the SARS-CoV-2 stood in a stable position when incubated at 4°C Celsius i.e. about 39°F. Again when it was incubated at 70°C i.e. 158°F it started getting inactivated at a rapid rate.

How to prevent contraction risk through different surfaces?

In order to reduce your risk of contracting and spreading this new coronavirus, you should thoroughly clean and disinfect all common objects and surfaces especially the list of surfaces discussed above, in your home and office place every day. The surfaces and object that must be sanitized and disinfected every day includes-

  • Phones
  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Keyboard
  • Remote controls
  • Tables
  • Toilets
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Countertops
  • Doorknobs

Clean all the above-mentioned objects and surfaces with cleaning spray and wipe that you can easily avail in the market. If any surface is very dirty then clean it first with soap and water and after that disinfect it. You can also prepare your own homemade bleach solution that remains in usable condition for up to 24 hours.

For this mix 5, tbsp (one-third cup) of household bleach in one-gallon water or you can mix 4 tsp of household bleach per quarter of water. Don’t ever mix the bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Leave this prepared bleach solution on the surfaces that need to be cleaned for a minimum of one minute and then wipe it properly.

The surface cleaning and disinfecting are vital even in families where everyone is healthy at present. In case someone is infected but not showing any symptoms for them this precaution measure can work effectively as it helps them in shedding virus and get a risk free again.

To reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus make sure that each and every member of your family is washing hands on a more frequent basis especially while coming from outside with soap and warm water at least for 20 seconds.

This is highly crucial in the cases when you come from a drugstore or hospital, and supermarket. While bringing something from outside such as takeout food, delivered a newspaper, etc make sure that you handle them with the utmost care by properly sanitizing your hands and products.

While handling or eating any raw food such as fruits and vegetables make sure that you wash them under running water first properly before consuming them. Scrub these food products with your hands or brush in order to wash any existing germs which might be present in their surface. People with weakened immune systems may prefer buying canned or frozen food products for ensuring better health safety.

As of date there is no evidence of coronavirus contraction or spreading via food packaging. However, if you do not want to take any risk then it’s better that you wipe down the take out bags or containers and grocery items and let them dry in the air naturally.

Wash and disinfect all reusable grocery bags or other containers after every use. Wash your clothes thoroughly after coming from the outside especially when you had a visit to a hospital or red zone area. Clean your used fabrics with warm water and as per the manufacturers’ recommendation. Let dry your clothes fully before wearing them.

If you are handling an ill person then make sure that you wear disposable gloves every time when you are about to handle the person or their belongings like foods, laundry, etc. Throw out this disposable glove every time after usage and then wash your hands properly.

In case of mail or shipped items, the virus may not survive for the duration these items take to be delivered in their destination. However, your risk of contracting this virus does exist with the person who comes for the delivery of these items. So maintain limitations and protection while coming in the contact of delivery people as much as it is possible.

For better safety, you can leave the delivered packages outside for few hours or spray disinfectant on them before taking it inside your place. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your mail or other shipped items.

In order to disinfect your shoe or sleepers' soles, you can spay disinfectant on them or avoid putting them indoors. Wear different sleepers inside your home and avoid it wearing them while going outside.

With these some prudent steps and measures you can easily reduce and prevent your risk of contracting coronavirus from different surfaces.

Only a limited number of studies have been conducted till date to determine that how long does the coronavirus last on any surface. Based on these studies we can say that they live longer on plastic, metals, and wooden surfaces. However other potential surfaces too must not be handled carelessly.

As there is no particular vaccine that has been invented to cope up with this pandemic condition which is the major pain concern of the current era globally so only by following its prevention measures one can ensure his or her as well as family and overall community life safety from this highly contaminated disease.

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