How long the COVID-19 coronavirus lasts on everyday surfaces (Clancy Morgan)
·3 min read

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout the world. The US has reported over 5,000 cases so far, with many states practicing social distancing to limit the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that COVID-19 is spread primarily through person-to-person contact, from something like a cough or a sneeze. But even if you're not in direct contact with someone who is contagious, you might still come in contact with the virus.

If someone coughs or sneezes into their hands or wipes their nose and then touches a surface, it could become contaminated. The CDC says this type of transmission "has not been documented." But experts say contaminated surfaces can still pose a risk. New research from the National Institutes of Health, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles, broke down how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on different surfaces. And while these results could be affected by temperature, humidity, UV light, and wind, it's a reminder of how easily the virus can spread.

Luckily, the virus isn't airborne. But it can linger in droplets on particles in the air. The study found that viruses could last up to three hours in droplets in the air. Maintaining a distance of six feet from other people can help avoid particles spread through a cough or a sneeze.

On copper surfaces, like a drawer handle, the virus can last up to four hours.

While researchers found that the virus can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, the CDC believes packages or mail are unlikely to transmit the virus.

COVID-19 appears to last the longest on plastic and stainless steel, two to three days. That's longer than the flu can live on surfaces, according to the CDC. Nonporous surfaces seem to allow the virus to survive longer. That could include things like doorknobs, bus and subway handrails, light switches, desks, and keyboards. We don't know how long the virus can live on a phone or a phone case, but researchers speculate that because it's a smooth, nonabsorbent surface, it's possible that the survivability would be similar to plastic.

There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure. Always avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and face, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you're not able to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. You should also routinely clean commonly used surfaces, like doorknobs and your phone, with disinfecting wipes. And avoid nonessential travel to public places, especially at peak times.

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