If you are still doing online shopping and buying lots of stuff that you may or may not need, you might just want to pay heed to these researchers and hold off on ordering stuff that isn’t absolutely essential. It turns out that the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 remains stable and infectious on cardboard and plastic for as long as three days. Yes, 3 days. That’s 72 hours. Your next super quick courier delivery will be well within Coronavirus’ window of opportunity to get inside your home and do some damage. The latest confirmation comes from the New England Journal of Medicine, which has published the latest study on the longevity of the Coronavirus on different surface types.
The researchers studied the conditions which allowed the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 to stay and remain active on aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard in different scenarios. “SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces,” say the researchers. The study was done by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton, Montana, Princeton University, University of California, Los Angeles and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The research says that on copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours. On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours.
Earlier, the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany had pointed out that viruses can remain on surfaces and retain their infectious tendencies for up to nine days, in a room temperature environment. On average, they survive between four and five days. “Low temperature and high air humidity further increase their lifespan,” said Professor Günter Kampf from the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the Greifswald University Hospital.
While the Coronavirus likes stainless steel and plastic the most, it doesn’t seem to like copper that much—it is gone from copper in around 4 hours. These findings mean that courier packages, smartphone cases and even containers can become a rather nice host for the Coronavirus as it plots its next move. Health authorities are recommending generous use of hand sanitizers to keep your hands clean, and a regular wipe-down of the surfaces around you could also be quite important. Also, wash your hands regularly with soap, and avoid touching your face with your hands. "This virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain. If you're touching items that someone else has recently handled, be aware they could be contaminated and wash your hands," says James Lloyd-Smith, a co-author of the study and a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.