How long can the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 survive on surfaces?
A recent study found that the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The researchers also found that this virus can hang out as droplets in the air for up to three hours before they fall. But most often they will fall more quickly.
There’s a lot we still don’t know, such as how different conditions, such as exposure to sunlight, heat, or cold, can affect these survival times.
As we learn more, continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
If surfaces are dirty, first clean them using a detergent and water, then disinfect them. A list of products suitable for use against COVID-19 is available here. This list has been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after bringing in packages, or after trips to the grocery store or other places where you may have come into contact with infected surfaces.
I have a chronic medical condition that puts me at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, even though I’m only in my 30s. What can I do to reduce my risk?
You can take steps to lower your risk of getting infected in the first place:
As much as possible, limit contact with people outside your family.
Maintain enough distance (six feet or more) between yourself and anyone outside your family.
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 to 30 seconds.
As best you can, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Stay away from people who are sick.
During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day.
(From Harvard Heath Publishing)