How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces?

April 26, 2020

Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

How does the coronavirus disease spread?

See full answer COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread from close contact (i.e., within about 6 feet) with a person who is currently sick with COVID-19. The virus likely spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. This type of spread is not a concern after death. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How long does the virus that causes COVID-19 live on surfaces?

Current guidance indicates that there is: No viable virus after four hours on copper surfaces. No viable virus after 24 hours on cardboard surfaces. No viable virus after four days on plastic and stainless steel. The virus is greatly reduced after 72 hours.

Can you contract the coronavirus disease by touching a surface?

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Is the coronavirus disease the same as SARS?

No. The virus that causes COVID-19 and the one that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 are related to each other genetically, but the diseases they cause are quite different.

What can I do to prevent the coronavirus disease at home?

Remind everyone in your household of the importance of practicing everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.

Can pets spread the coronavirus disease?

In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it's always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals. Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies. Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.

How do you disinfect surfaces for the coronavirus disease?

For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.