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How Long Does the Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

The new coronavirus that caused the 2020 pandemic can spread in tiny droplets released from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land on different surfaces, but smaller particles can remain in the air.

How long are surfaces contagious?

Research by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows that the virus could waft in the air for up to three hours. Sars-CoV-2, the name of the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. The study found that the virus can survive only up to four hours on copper surfaces.

Do hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes offer protection?

Practicing hand hygiene, which includes the use of alcohol-based hand rub or handwashing, is an effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens and infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health institute of the United States. Disinfectant wipes have also proved to be effective.

When to use hand sanitizers?

Use hand sanitizer before and after coming in contact with a surface other people have touched. Sanitizers should be part of your protective kit, especially when there is no immediate access to soap and hot water to wash the hands.

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