Study reveals how long COVID-19 remains infectious on cardboard, metal and plastic

March 20, 2020

The virus that causes COVID-19 remains for several hours to days on surfaces and in aerosols, New England Journal of Medicine found.

The study suggests that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. Scientists discovered the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

"This virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain," said James Lloyd-Smith, a co-author of the study and a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. "If you're touching items that someone else has recently handled, be aware they could be contaminated and wash your hands."

The study attempted to mimic the virus being deposited onto everyday surfaces in a household or hospital setting by an infected person through coughing or touching objects, for example. The scientists then investigated how long the virus remained infectious on these surfaces.

The study's authors are from UCLA, the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Princeton University. They include Amandine Gamble, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in Lloyd-Smith's laboratory.

In February, Lloyd-Smith and colleagues reported in the journal eLife that screening travelers for COVID-19 is not very effective. People infected with the virus -- officially named SARS-CoV-2 -- may be spreading the virus without knowing they have it or before symptoms appear. Lloyd-Smith said the biology and epidemiology of the virus make infection extremely difficult to detect in its early stages because the majority of cases show no symptoms for five days or longer after exposure.

"Many people won't have developed symptoms yet," Lloyd-Smith said. "Based on our earlier analysis of flu pandemic data, many people may not choose to disclose if they do know."

The new study supports guidance from public health professionals to slow the spread of COVID-19:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
-end-


University of California - Los Angeles

Related Aerosols Articles from Brightsurf:

Reducing aerosol pollution without cutting carbon dioxide could make the planet hotter
Humans must reduce carbon dioxide and aerosol pollution simultaneously to avoid weakening the ocean's ability to keep the planet cool, new UC Riverside research shows.

NASA's Terra highlights aerosols from western fires in danger zone
The year 2020 will be remembered for being a very trying year and western wildfires have just added to the year's woes.

NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP captures fires and aerosols across America
On Sep. 07, 2020, NOAA/NASA's Suomi NPP satellite provided two different views of how fires are affecting the US.

Low humidity increases COVID risk; another reason to wear a mask
University of Sydney study confirms a link between COVID-19 cases and lower humidity.

Summer observation campaigns to study pollution in the Asian tropopause layer
Scientists find the aerosols in the boundary layer are mostly pollution out of human activities, and the aerosols in the upper troposphere may also contain natural aerosols, like mineral dust and volcanic sulfate aerosols,

Masks reduce airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2
Growing evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, can be spread by asymptomatic people via aerosols -- a reality that deeply underscores the ongoing importance of regular widespread testing, wearing masks and physical distancing to reduce the spread of the virus, say Kimberly Prather and colleagues in a new Perspective.

Fire aerosols decrease global terrestrial ecosystem productivity through changing climate
Cooling, drying, and light attenuation are major impacts of fire aerosols on the global terrestrial ecosystem productivity.

Study: Aerosols have an outsized impact on extreme weather
A reduction in manmade aerosols in Europe has been tied to a reduction in extreme winter weather in the region.

Agricultural area residents in danger of inhaling toxic aerosols
Excess selenium from fertilizers and other natural sources can create air pollution that could lead to lung cancer, asthma, and Type 2 diabetes, according to new UC Riverside research.

Satellite tracking shows how ships affect clouds and climate
By matching the movement of ships to the changes in clouds caused by their emissions, researchers have shown how strongly the two are connected.

Read More: Aerosols News and Aerosols Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.