Coronavirus can survive on certain surfaces, including banknotes and mobile phone screens, for nearly a month in cooler climates, new research by Australian scientists suggests.
Covid-19 is able to survive in the open for a significantly longer length of time than was previously thought, according to a study by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) published by the Virology Journal.
“Establishing how long the virus really remains viable on surfaces enables us to more accurately predict and mitigate its spread, and do a better job of protecting our people,” said CSIRO’s chief executive, Dr. Larry Marshall.
According to the research, the virus has proven to be “extremely stable” and able to thrive on smooth, non-porous surfaces, including paper and plastic banknotes, glass, and steel. Kept at around room temperature – 20C (68F) – Covid-19 stayed alive for a whopping 28 days, which is some 10 days longer than the survival time of the regular flu virus. It should be noted that the experiment was carried out in the dark, as UV light is very effective in killing the coronavirus.
Higher temperatures are significantly less comfortable for the virus. At 40C (104F), it was able to survive for less than 24 hours. At 30C (86F) Covid-19 demonstrated quite mixed results, staying alive for some seven days on stainless steel, plastic notes and glass, but only three days on vinyl and cotton cloth. On paper cash, the contagious virus was still detected after 21 days under those conditions.
“The persistence of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated in this study is pertinent to the public health and transport sectors. This data should be considered in strategies designed to mitigate the risk of fomite transmission during the current pandemic response,” the study concluded.
Such findings suggest that the upcoming winter in northern hemisphere will provide even more comfortable conditions for the virus. The news is certainly good for Australia itself, though, as the country is now heading into summertime. Anyway, taking your cash sunbathing and keeping it in hot places might be a good idea during the pandemic.
Globally, the coronavirus tally has already surpassed the 37 million mark, while nearly 1.1 million people have succumbed to the disease, latest figures by the Johns Hopkins University show. The US, India and Brazil remain the worst-affected nations, accounting for over a half of all global cases.