Scientists have determined that the SARS-CoV-2 can remain on different surfaces from hours to up to three days. SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The researchers found that this virus can stay on copper for 3 hours, or cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and stainless steel for up to 2 to 3 days. In addition, it can remain in aerosols for up to three hours. The bottom line is that people can get the virus through the air and by touching contaminated surfaces.
Stable on Surfaces for Hours
In the study, the researchers compared how the environment affects SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1, which causes SARS. They mimicked how the viruses would get deposited on surfaces by an infected person through coughing or touching objects.
They found that both viruses were similar in how long they remained on different surfaces. This does fail to explain why COVID-19 has become a much larger outbreak than SARS in 2002 and 2003.
Why Does SARS-CoV-2 Spread So Fast?
Two big questions came up from this study. The first is why is SARS-CoV-2 resulting in more cases? One answer might be that infected people can spread SARS-CoV-2 before exhibiting symptoms. This kind of infection makes it harder to detect and prevent.
The second question is that most secondary cases of virus transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (in contrast to SARS-CoV-1) appear to be occurring in community settings rather than healthcare settings. One answer is that the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosol may be contributing to its spread in healthcare settings.
The findings put out several precautions for people to avoid the spread of SARS-CoV-2:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For more information from the CDC about preventing the spread of COVID-19, visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html