How Long Does Coronavirus Stay on Surfaces?


The novel coronavirus has made us wary of all kinds of surfaces, including tabletops, doorknobs, smartphones, coins, and grocery carts. We cannot be entirely sure whether a surface has viruses or bacteria, so we disinfect anyway, even if we’ve already done that a couple of times in the last hour.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), we can pick up COVID-19 when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face afterward.

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The CDC has also updated its FAQs section on COVID-19, and now states that the virus is spread from person to person, “mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).”

This means that, while we should be careful about touching surfaces, we should also wear masks, but we must also exercise extreme caution when handling surfaces.

The coronaviruses can survive on some surfaces for up to nine days.

According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, coronaviruses can survive and remain contagious on various surfaces for up to nine days.

The research reviewed 22 studies involving human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, and endemic human coronavirus (HCoV), and how long they last on various surfaces.


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The review showed coronaviruses can last on metal, glass, and plastic for up to nine days if such surfaces are not disinfected or exposed to UV radiation.

But for the novel coronavirus that is causing COVID-19, the U.S. National Institutes of Health found out that it can last for up to 24 hours on cardboard and two to three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces.

Coronaviruses can survive for up to a month in low temperatures.

According to the study, the viruses can survive for up to a month in low temperatures, such as inside your refrigerator or a regularly air-conditioned room.

Coronaviruses die within one minute of exposure to alcohol.

Many government health institutions around the world recommend the use of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol as a hand disinfectant and surface disinfectant. But for the coronaviruses to die, they have to be exposed to the solution for one minute.

“Surface disinfection… significantly reduces coronavirus infectivity on surfaces within one min exposure time. We expect a similar effect against the SARS-CoV-2,” states the study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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