Most of us stopped worrying about cleaning our food and disinfecting our possessions before the pandemic, when we realized that the real risk of transmission of COVID-19 was in the air. But with the arrival of the omicron variant, is it time to reconsider? Are you concerned about touching the coronavirus on surfaces? We asked an infectious disease specialist to explain how long the virus can survive on common surfaces and what we need to know to stay safe. Vincent Munster, from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), conducted research on how long the virus remains in air and on surfaces. He found that the virus can survive for a few hours up to several days, depending on the type of surface.
On metal, glass, and plastic surfaces, the virus can survive for up to five days. This includes items like doorknobs, countertops, and phones. It is important to note that these surfaces are not as hospitable for the virus as other materials like fabric or paper. On fabric, such as clothing or bedding, the virus can survive for up to two days.
This is because fabric is more absorbent than other materials, so it can trap more of the virus particles. On paper, such as books or newspapers, the virus can survive for up to 24 hours. Paper is also absorbent, so it can trap more of the virus particles than metal or plastic surfaces. Munster also found that the temperature and humidity of a room can affect how long the virus survives on surfaces.
In a warm and humid environment, the virus can survive for longer periods of time than in a cold and dry environment. It is important to remember that while the virus can survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days, it is still primarily transmitted through droplets in the air. So it is still important to practice social distancing and wear a mask when you are around other people. It is also important to remember that while cleaning and disinfecting surfaces can help reduce your risk of exposure to the virus, it is not a substitute for social distancing and wearing a mask.
So make sure you are taking all necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe.