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Home Health & Fitness Study: COVID-19 virus can remain viable for 3 hours in the air;...

Study: COVID-19 virus can remain viable for 3 hours in the air; 24-36 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces

A new scientific study from Princeton University, the University of California-Los Angeles, and the National Institutes of Health indicates that the coronavirus, AKA COVID-19, may remain viable in the air for “up to 3 hours post aerosolization.” This study was first cited in DC-based news site TheHill.com.

“We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. HCoV-19 and SARS-CoV-1 exhibited similar half-lives in aerosols, with median estimates around 2.7 hours. Both viruses show relatively long viability on stainless steel and polypropylene compared to copper or cardboard: the median half-life estimate for HCoV-19 is around 13 hours on steel and around 16 hours on polypropylene. Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission* of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”

* “Fomite transmssion” is a technical term indicating transmission of infectious diseases by objects. 

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The findings that COVID-19 is long-lasting on many surfaces commonly found in the home and in commercial environments, including stainless steel and plastic, reinforces the need to aggressively sterilize interior spaces to prevent further spread of the virus.

The finding that the virus can “hang out” in the air for up to 3 hours after being expelled from sick people is additionally troubling for Americans thinking of going outside, travelling on public transit, or going to work without some kind of protection against inhaling micro-droplets containing COVID-19. Unfortunately, the U.S. currently faces a critical shortage of protective face masks, and while domestic capacity is ramping up, with 3M planning to manufacturer 35 million masks per month, 3.5 billion masks are deemed necessary to protect Americans.

You can read the full text of the study here:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.09.20033217v1.full.pdf

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