Coronavirus: How It Lives On Surfaces And Things You May Have Missed

Viral particles of Covid-19 can be found on surfaces for up to 72 hours, depending on the material, meaning transmission could be passed from surfaces to people. The materials that are known to house viral particles for certain amounts of time are: plastic and steel for up to 72 hours, cardboard for 24 hours, and on cardboard for 4 hours.

Viral Particles

There is a minimum amount of particles that tend to lead to transmission to person, so it’s unlikely to just pass to you from one particle. It is unconfirmed just how many the coronavirus would take to transfer to someone from a surface, but the advice to avoid surfaces on public transport for instance are still one to abide by, even more now than before. And it is still much more likely, that you can be infected from close contact with someone than from surface transference.

Reportedly, Coronavirus traces were found on the Diamond Princess cruise ship more than two weeks after everyone had departed. But it is important to note that the amount of virus particles on surfaces rapidly decrease in conjunction with time on the materials mentioned. 

It is therefore advised that after shopping, getting a delivery, or anything new that comes into your house that you should wash your hands after handling it. After a few hours of delivery it would theoretically be particle free, of course, however there are many factors in which this could change. 

Are Face Masks As Effective As We Think?

It was one of the earliest news stories when the Coronavirus situation was worsening in China, where face masks were a valuable commodity, hospitals and the public faced dangerous shortages. But face masks themselves are not as helpful as once thought, as they do not protect you effectively against catching a virus rather it protects the virus from spreading from you to others instead.

Face masks typically only prevent the wearer from spreading the virus as airborne particles like cough droplets in many similar flus. It is of course, effective for medical staff who are in close contact with infected but if you are social distancing and washing hands regularly, a face mask is potentially better off in the hands of the NHS.

The effectiveness of the mask is not being utilised according to a public health expert at Birmingham University, KK Cheng. He argues that, “If everyone wears mask, it’d reduce transmissions significantly. Cloth masks are good enough. [We] should consider this low cost form of mass protection when we try to restore relative normality after lockdown.”

Of course, due to shortages in hospitals globally, it is important that the supply goes to medical staff. As Cheng suggests, when the supply is possible to go to the majority of the public, it could help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the coming months. Those who are infected, and don’t know, while wearing a mask won’t be able to transfer the virus from their airborne viral particles. 

Facial Hair?

The effectiveness of a face mask is compromised when facial hair is present, according to the new Coronavirus guidelines within the NHS: “Beards, stubble and facial hair cause a common problem when using PPE face masks, as this can prevent the mask being able to seal to the face and passing the fit test.”

So those wearing a face mask to avoid the viral infection, may want to consider shaving off their facial hair so that the mask can fit securely around the face and effectively prevent viral transmission. 



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About the author /

Thomas Lunn is a sports journalist with a keen interest in events, tv and films.

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