Coronavirus on surfaces

A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), UCLA, and Princeton University scientists published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the varying stability of the coronavirus on different surfaces.

Across aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard, the lowest levels of coronavirus transmission possibilities were via copper because of its atomic makeup and cardboard — presumably because of its porous nature.

Emphasizing that the virus spreads when transmitted by aerosols, researchers duplicated these droplets and measured how long they stayed infectious on surfaces.

The coronavirus lasts longest on smooth, non-porous surfaces.

Researchers found the virus was still viable after three days on plastic and stainless steel. Researchers say that is not as ominous as it sounds since the virus’ strength declines rapidly when exposed to air.

Because the virus loses half its potency every 66 minutes, it is only one-eighth as infectious after three hours when it first landed on a surface.

Six hours later, viability is only 2% of the original, researchers found.

The virus was not viable after 24 hours on cardboard — and the good news here, like plastic and stainless steel, is lower and lower potency when exposed to air.

For newsprint, which is much more porous than cardboard, virus viability is presumably even shorter.

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