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COVID 19 Virus | How Does It Spread & Last On Surfaces?

According to the research on the COVID-19 virus, it mainly affects our respiratory organs and the breathing system. Whereby, just like any other respiratory infection, it affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Some of these respiratory infections include influenza (the “flu”), colds and pertussis (whooping cough).

The germs (viruses and bacteria) that cause these infections are spread from person to person in droplets from the nose, throat, and lungs of someone who is sick. You can help stop the spread of these germs by practicing good “respiratory etiquette,” or “health manners” like handwashing using a hand sanitizer.

Contact your doctor right away if you have any susceptible Coronavirus Symptoms. Or rather, if you’ve possibly been exposed in any way to the new COVID-19 virus. Also, tell your doctor if you’ve recently traveled internationally.

At the same time, call your doctor ahead to tell him or her about your symptoms and recent travels. As well as other possible exposure before you go to your appointment. Important to realize, it’s unclear exactly how contagious the new coronavirus is.

Before you proceed, read and learn more about Coronavirus Symptoms | 5 Self Isolation Best Practices.

How does the COVID-19 Virus spread?

Eventually, like many respiratory viruses, including flu, COVID-19 virus can be spread in tiny droplets released from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they cough. Whereby, a single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets.

In the end, these particles can land on other people, clothing, and surfaces around them. But, some of the smaller particles can remain in the air. In addition, there is also some evidence that the virus is also shed for longer in fecal matter.

So, anyone not practicing handwashing thoroughly after visiting the toilet could contaminate anything they touch. It is worth noting that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (in short CDC), touching a surface or object with the virus and then touching one’s own face “is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads”.

Even so, the CDC, the World Health Organization (in short WHO) and other health authorities, have definitely upped their roleplay. That it’s important to both wash hands, do thoroughly surface cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily. For one thing, these are the key elements of preventing a world spread strain of the Covid-19 virus.

Although we still don’t know exactly how many cases are being caused directly by contaminated surfaces, experts advise exercising caution.

How long does COVID 19 Virus last on surfaces?

One aspect that has been unclear is exactly how long Sars-CoV-2, the name of the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease, can survive outside the human body.

However, some studies on other coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS, found they can survive on metal, glass, and plastic for as long as nine days. Unless they are properly disinfected. While at the same time, some can even hang around for up to 28 days in low temperatures.

Additionally, research notes that the COVID-19 virus is thought to survive for longer on hard surfaces than on materials such as cardboard.

By all means, Coronavirus strains are well known to be particularly resilient in terms of where they can survive. And researchers are now beginning to understand more about how this affects the spread of the new coronavirus.

What does the Research say about COVID-19 Virus?

Neeltje van Doremalen, a virologist at the US National Institutes of Health (in short NIH), has done some of the first tests of how long Sars-CoV-2 can last for on different surfaces. With the help of her colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana.

Important to realize, their study, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows some more evidence. That the virus could survive in droplets for up to three hours after being coughed out into the air. Fine droplets between 1-5 micrometers in size – about 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair – can remain airborne for several hours in still air.

Meaning that the virus circulating in unfiltered air conditioning systems will only persist for a couple of hours at the most. Especially, as aerosol droplets tend to settle on surfaces faster in disturbed air. But, the NIH study found that the Sars-CoV-2 virus survives for longer on cardboard. Up to 24 hours – and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces.

Learn how to clean your mobile phone properly

Equally important, the findings suggest the virus might last this long on door handles, plastic-coated or laminated worktops, and other hard surfaces. However, the researchers did find that copper surfaces tended to kill the virus in about four hours.

But, there is a speedier option:

Whereby, research has shown that Coronaviruses can be inactivated within a minute by disinfecting surfaces with 62-71% alcohol. Or rather, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide bleach in addition to household bleach containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite.

Higher temperatures and humidity also tend to result in other Coronaviruses dying quicker. Although research has shown that a related coronavirus that causes Sars could be killed by temperatures above 56°C or 132°F. Hotter than even a bath scalding enough to cause injury – at a rate of about 10,000 viral particles every 15 minutes.

As a matter of fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (in short EPA) has now published a list of disinfectants and active ingredients that can be used against the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

Handwashing | Life is Better with Clean Hands – Campaign

Through proper Handwashing practices, keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick. As well as spreading germs (like COVID-19) to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not handwashing with soap and clean, running water.

For instance, one of the common sources of germs like salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus are feces (poop) from people or animals. Not forgetting, that causes diarrhea, and it can spread some respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease.

Bearing in mind, these kinds of germs can get onto hands. After people use the toilet or change a diaper, but also in less obvious ways. Like after handling raw meats that have invisible amounts of animal poop on them.


A single gram of human feces—which is about the weight of a paper clip—can contain one trillion germs. In addition, germs can also get onto hands if people touch any object that has germs on it because someone coughed or sneezed on it.

Read and learn also about Self Quarantine | What does It mean in Simple terms?

How do I Protect from COVID-19 Virus infection?

From my previous blog post, I illustrated to you a complete guide on What is Handwashing? And also, in another blog post, I explained the key aspects of a good hand sanitizer. But, for those new to this blog site, here’s what you should know.

Handwashing, also known as hand hygiene, is the act of cleaning hands for the purpose of removing soil, dirt, grease, and microorganisms while especially using a hand sanitizer.

Basically, regular hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs. Allowing you to avoid getting sick, and preventing the spread of germs and viruses to others. Whether you are at home, at work, traveling, or out in the community, find out how handwashing with soap and water can protect you and your family.

Parents and Caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Handwashing can become a lifelong healthy habit if you start teaching it at an early age. Teach kids the five easy steps for handwashing—wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry.

And also, don’t forget the key times to wash hands, such as after using the bathroom or before eating. You can find ways to make it fun! Like making up your own handwashing song. Or turning it into a game.

To know how you can get involved, you can read and learn more about the New Handwashing Campaign: Life is Better with Clean Hands.

Is a Hand Sanitizer the Best alternative?

Of course, Yes! Handwashing with soap and water are the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.

But, if soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. And you can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Hand Sanitizer

Definitely, you’ll agree that aside from COVID-19 Coronavirus, the next talk of the town is a Hand Sanitizer. After all, the hand sanitizers on Amazon were overpriced. And as for the past weekend, on Walmart, they were completely sold out.

Fear of the coronavirus has led people to stock up on hand sanitizer. Leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush.

We all know the advice: Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. When you can’t, use hand sanitizer.

According to Britannica, hand sanitizer, also called hand antiseptic, or hand rub, is an agent applied to the hands for the purpose of removing common pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Having said that, you can read and learn more Hand Sanitizer | Best Practices For Personal Hygiene.

How do I Stay Safe from Coronaviruses?

Unfortunately, we can pick up the COVID-19 virus by touching surfaces contaminated with the new coronavirus. But it is only just becoming clear how long the virus can survive outside the human body. As the COVID-19 virus spreads, so have our fear of surfaces.

And there are now some familiar scenes in public places around the world. With people trying to open doors with their elbows. Or like commuters studiously surfing their way through train journeys to avoid grabbing a handle. As well as, office workers rubbing down their desks each morning.

In the areas worst hit by the new coronavirus, teams of workers wore protective clothing. Dispatched to spray a fog of disinfectant in plazas, parks, and public streets. Cleaning regimes in offices, hospitals, shops, and restaurants have been increased. While in some cities, well-meaning volunteers even venture out at night to scrub the keypads of cash machines.


As I conclude, at the moment, there’s no data on how many virus particles will be in a single droplet coughed up by an infected person.

Otherwise, research suggests that smaller flu virus droplets can contain many tens of thousands of copies of the influenza virus. However, this can vary depending on the virus itself. And the infection stages in a particular person.

By the same fashion, it is not yet clear how long the virus can survive. Particularly, on clothing and other surfaces harder to disinfect. The absorbent natural fibers in cardboard, however, may cause the virus to dry up. And more quickly than on plastic and metal. As Vincent Munster, head of the virus ecology section at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. And one of those who led the NIH study suggests.

According to Munster, the ability of the virus to linger for so long only underlines the importance of hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces.

Related Sources;

Finally, it’s my hope that after reading this revised guide, you’ll try as much as possible to practice the best hand hygiene routines.

Bearing in mind, as of the time of writing this blog article, there are currently 622,343 Coronavirus confirmed cases worldwide. With a total of 28,802 deaths and luckily, 137,373 recovery cases.

If you’ll have more additional contributions to this article or more of our blog topics, please feel free to Contact Us. You can as well as, share your general views, thoughts, insights, and questions in the comments section below this blog.

Here are more resourceful topic links;

  1. The lessons we can learn from the Spanish Flu
  2. Why panic buying is irrational
  3. The search for Covid-19 virus patient zero
  4. Read more about the global fight against Covid-19
  5. See realtime results of Coronavirus pandemic cases worldwide
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