COVID-19 contaminated? How long does the virus last?
We’re told to practice social distancing because the virus can travel in the air. We’re also told to wash our hands frequently because when we touch things, we can become contaminated.
But for how long? In a correspondence given to The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers tested how long the virus can stay viable in the air and on different surfaces.￼
In the air: the virus remained viable for the duration of the test, which was three hours.￼ Note that’s when the test stopped, not when the virus stopped being viable and transmittable.
How about common surfaces? For plastic and stainless steel, the virus remained viable for up to 72 hours. Over that time, the concentration of the virus dramatically falls, but it is still present.￼
For cardboard: no viable viruses remain after 24 hours.￼ If you’re receiving delivery packages from Amazon or others and concerned about the box being contaminated and want to know what to do…
Here’s evidence that waiting for 24 hours can reduce your risk.
For copper: no viable viruses remain after four hours.