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Coronavirus germs can live on some surfaces for days, study finds

Researchers say the virus’ longevity makes it hard to contain

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Experts have been advising consumers to practice social distancing and double down on their hygiene practices due to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). But a recent study suggests that maybe tripling or quadrupling down might be more appropriate. 

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that the coronavirus can contaminate and live on certain surfaces for up to three days before losing their ability to infect others. 

"This virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain," said study co-author James Lloyd-Smith, a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. 

Coronavirus survivability

The researchers came to their conclusions after mimicking how the virus would respond from being deposited on several types of surfaces that are commonly found in the public and in consumers’ homes. 

They found that the virus was detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on a copper surface, up to 24 hours on a cardboard surface, and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.

"If you're touching items that someone else has recently handled, be aware they could be contaminated and wash your hands," Lloyd-Smith warned.

Follow health guidelines

The study findings show that it’s extremely important for consumers to practice proper hygiene and take precautions when interacting with the world around them. 

Some commonsense practices that consumers can employ include the following:

  • 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; and

  • Frequently wash your hands to kill any germs that you may have come into contact with.

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