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This is how long coronaviruses can linger on contaminated surfaces, according to science


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Concerns are growing about how long the coronavirus can survive on surfaces.

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It’s becoming so concerning that China’s central bank is deep cleaning and destroying its cash – which is touched by different hands several times a day – in an effort to contain the virus.

Officials say they are studying the behaviors of past coronaviruses – such as SARS and MERS – which are classified as a large group of viruses common among animals.

Right now officials do not know what animal may have caused the current outbreak in Wuhan, but past studies have suggested people were infected with MERS after coming in contact with camels and that civet cats were to blame for SARS.

Human coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS have been found to persist on inanimate surfaces – including metal, glass, or plastic surfaces – for as long as 9 days if that surface has not been disinfected, according to research published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection.

Researchers analyzed 22 studies on coronaviruses including ones on SARS and MERS, with an analysis revealing that the viruses normally survive on surfaces between 4 and 5 days, but can remain infectious for up to 9 days.

The viruses’ lifespan can increase with low temperatures and high air humidity.

According to the research, cleaning with common household products makes a huge difference.

Research showed that human coronaviruses “can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or bleach within one minute.”

The CDC notes that coronaviruses are thought to spread mostly by respiratory droplets such as droplets in a sneeze or cough, and that coronaviruses in general have “poor survivability” on surfaces.

Regardless, health officials say you should continue to take precautions.

It’s advised you wash your hands frequently, avoid contact with sick people, and follow home quarantine recommendations if you have recently traveled from China or were in contact with a known or infected patient.

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on some surfaces for as long as 48 hours and potentially infect someone if the surface has not been cleaned and disinfected.

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