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Virus Active for Hours on Surfaces and in the Air

Coronaviruses research, conceptual illustration. Vials of blood in a centrifuge being tested for coronavirus infection.
  • Simply avoiding contact with a coronavirus patient may not be enough to avoid contracting the virus, according to researchers, who have found the virus can linger on surfaces for up to three days.
  • A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine also reveals the virus can remain active while airborne for three hours. “This is a virus that is transmitted through droplets and these are little pieces of liquid,” says World Health Organization epidemiologist Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove. “When they come out of an infected person and individual, they go a certain distance and then they settle.”
  • Conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study found the coronavirus can remain viable for up to four hours on copper surfaces, 24 hours on cardboard, and 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic. A person who touches one of these surfaces, and then touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes, runs the risk of becoming infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • What steps have you taken to keep your home virus-free? How many times a day do you think you touch your mouth, nose or eyes?
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