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How long can coronavirus be detected on different surfaces?

How long does coronavirus live on different surfaces?
Posted at 11:33 AM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 13:33:35-04

DENVER — A new study found that the novel coronavirus can survive on everyday surfaces for hours or even days beyond when it first made contact.

The study by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and University of California - Los Angeles found that coronavirus was detectable on copper for up to four hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours, and for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Denver7 looked deeper into the study with Metropolitan State University of Denver Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sheryl Zajdowicz.

Zajdowicz said the keyword in the study is “detected.”

“The level of detection and the amount of active virus actually there — it’s not very much," she said. "It’s not clear and there doesn’t seem to be evidence of transmission just from handling."

She said the amount of the virus present changes over time.

“Within a matter of hours, you actually start to see a breakdown of that virus, so you wouldn’t have very much there,” Zajdowicz said.

She said for that reason, people should be more worried about transmission through saliva than through touching certain surfaces.

“Certainly, the greatest transmissions is through respiratory droplets or saliva and then obviously if you’re touching something and then you’re touching your face and potentially your nose, there’s that potential,” she said.

Zajdowicz, like the CDC, suggests hand-washing and social distancing as the best defense against the coronavirus.

She said for those who are still concerned about items purchased from a store or received in the mail, you can use disinfectant like Lysol or bleach to wipe them down.