The current coronavirus could survive up to nine days outside the human body if it proves as resilient as previous strains, according to researchers studying past outbreaks.
Cold, low-humidity environments are ideal for the disease, an analysis of 22 former coronavirus surveys by the Journal of Hospital Infection found. Past strains included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Some surfaces are better for the virus than others.
“On copper and steel it’s pretty typical, it’s pretty much about two hours,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said Thursday. “But I will say on other surfaces — cardboard or plastic — it’s longer, and so we are looking at this.”
Transmission can occur when a person touches a contaminated object or surface, then touches their mouth, nose or eyes, though one scientist suggested this type of transmission is rare. Even less likely, is contamination from packages coming from overseas.
“The important big take-home message is that this is probably a small proportion of the transmission of respiratory viruses,” said Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist in California.
“Out in the community, these viruses are probably not surviving for a long time on surfaces.”
With Post wires
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