By Henric Sundlof • 02 March 2020 • 10:40
It is known that the coronavirus’ main way of spreading is through droplets of the virus being transmitted between humans, oftentimes through coughing and sneezing. But the leading national public health institute of the United States, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC for short, suspects that the virus can also be transmitted via dead surfaces such as door handles, for example.
Researchers are now investigating how long the virus survives on different surfaces. The CDC believes that there’s a risk of being infected by touching a surface or an object where the virus is present if you then rub your eye or touch your mouth. However, how long the virus survives outside a living body and how contagious it is when it ends up on ordinary everyday surfaces is unclear and something the health institute is trying to figure out.
A review of 22 studies that have investigated similar coronaviruses, such as Sars and Mers, was recently published by the Journal of Hospital Infection. The report stated that the virus could survive on non-living surfaces for as long as nine days at room temperature. But they were quickly rendered harmless if the surface was wiped with a disinfectant. The coronavirus that is spreading rapidly worldwide at the moment, sars-cov-2, is believed to behave in a very similar way.
So for how long can a door handle be contagious? When it comes to metal surfaces such as copper and steel, the coronavirus seems to survive for around two hours, CDC chief physician Robert Redfield explains. But on other materials, such as cardboard and plastic, the virus survives much longer. How long, depends on the ambient temperatures as well.
The different strains of the coronavirus survive the longest at lower temperatures when the humidity is low. That is why they spread more rapidly during the winter.
So our suggestion is, when outside, make sure to bring your disinfectant with you in case you need to open any doors.
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