New Study: Virus Can Live 4 Hours in Air, 72 Hours on Surfaces, Patients Contagious 37 Days
As researchers around the world dig more deeply into the secrets of novel coronavirus or COVID-19, several new studies provides unsettling findings about the virus’s durability in open air and on surfaces and the contagious period for patients, extending even 20 days after treatment, details which point to the difficulties of contact tracing, the safety of public spaces and the ultimate containment of the disease.
Federally funded tests conducted by scientists from several major institutions indicated that the virus can survive in the air for several hours.
A study awaiting peer review from scientists at Princeton University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted online Wednesday indicated that the COVID-19 virus could remain viable in the air “up to 3 hours post aerosolization,” while remaining alive on plastic and other surfaces for up to three days.
“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,” reads the study’s abstract.
For the study, scientists used a nebulizer to spray the coronavirus into the air in a manner similar to a cough. The virus could be detected in the air up to 3 hours later. Researchers also placed samples on a variety of surfaces. They found the virus could survive for up to 4 hours on copper, as many as 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.