How long germs live on surfaces depends on the specific pathogen, whether it’s a bacteria or a virus, and the nature of the surface it’s on. Researchers are only beginning to understand how long the Corona Virus can survive on surfaces.
A recent study shows COVID-19 can remain viable on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours. But it does not survive for that long on other surfaces. In the study, the virus remained viable on copper for only four hours.
Not much research has been conducted yet on the new and aggressive Corona Virus. It is known that its infectivity decreases over time, and it is most likely to infect someone immediately after it is expelled from the infected person’s nose or mouth.
The most likely surfaces to spread droplets of infected mucus are high-touch surfaces like handkerchiefs and tissues, faucets and door handles, toilet seats and flush handles, phones, mobile devices and TV remotes.
The CDC thus far has no documented cases of anyone getting sick with Corona from an infected surface. Infection is much more likely to occur through direct contact with respiratory droplets from someone coughing or sneezing nearby.
How Often Should You Disinfect Surfaces in Your Home?
There’s no rule about how often to disinfect surfaces in the home, or when it’s safe to stop disinfecting after someone recovers from an illness. Simply use common sense to focus on disinfecting high-contact areas and high-orona touch items, especially when someone is coming down with a bug, is actively sick, or recovering from an illness.
It’s still not clear for how long people continue to shed Corona Virus after they no longer show symptoms. Because it spreads so rapidly, it’s quite likely that others in the household will become infected if one person gets sick. So be over-cautious and hyper-vigilant when it comes to disinfecting surfaces in your home. Better safe than sorry!
Dr. Elizabeth Scott, professor of microbiology at Simmons University, Boston, says, “Always follow disinfection guidelines for common touch surfaces and food contact surfaces. And not just when someone in your home is sick. In the current situation, keep it up until the epidemic has come to an end.”