Covid-19 On Surfaces. It Could Stick Around Awhile In Cold Weather:
One of the scariest elements of a new situation is not knowing what to do.
Virus-hunter docs bridged some of that gap by figuring out and demonstrating that coronavirus spreads through the air.
And mask-wearers everywhere are disappointed by those who refuse to wear them.
But as time goes on, researchers are finding out increasingly-frightening information that makes messy people look even more dangerous.
And part of that is related to COVID also spreading like another disease we’re afraid of…
The Short Answer:
- The discovery of coronavirus spreading by respiration was important.
- Mask-wearing, social-distancing, and other recommendations were key also.
- The importance of hand-washing has been stressed.
- But keeping surfaces clean has been a little undersold.
- An Australian team at CSIRO found that coronavirus can survive much longer than we thought.
- This can be 28 days or more on non-porous surfaces.
- The highest-risk time for this persistence is during Fall & Winter.
- Transmission by touch is still reliable enough that virologists can track the spread using that metric.
- It’s important to clean every surface, not just the ones in buildings.
- A larger version of the infographic is here.
Read on to find out the details…
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So we’ve all been given more than one set of instructions to stay safe by authorities like the CDC.
I wouldn’t go too much by the WHO’s recs, because it took them until after April 11th to figure out people should be wearing masks,
Even if they had no symptoms.
But wearing them properly by covering BOTH your nose & mouth was a good idea.
Especially because it looks like one of the first places COVID infects is the nose.
The Social-Distancing part of things was also a pretty intuitive step.
The droplets that carry the disease can get to you if you’re too close to another person.
But what about the less-obvious recommendations and the meanings behind them?
That brings us to one of the other diseases we all know and love that could REALLY complicate this Fall and Winter,
And you get COVID-19 at the same time.
Your risk of early-mortality is actually SIX TIMES higher under those circumstances!
But wait, it gets better, because the clever docs at CSIRO in Australia tracked down some very important new findings,
That are tied to the way that most viruses spread.
Which is: By Touching Things!
Because what do you do after you touch all of the things?
You then touch your face and your nose.
-Which is overwhelmingly the way that The Flu spreads.
Why does that matter to us?
(Other than the previous note about getting COVID+The Flu at the same time making your risk of death 6x higher than average)
Because even though we are all constantly-reminded to wear masks everywhere we can, especially in public,
COVID-19 can absolutely be transmitted By Touching Things also!
And concurrent with our frequent theme here at HT of “Stealth Health”,
It’s often the things you don’t notice that get you.
Which is exactly what the CSIRO doctors are trying to remind us of.
Because you would think you’re safe if you actually remembered to sanitize or wash your hands, right?
But what about every surface you’ve touched?
We previously-believed that coronavirus would not last more than 1 week on any surface…
Well, now we know that was wrong.
And here are the results from the CSIRO study
For a very warm summer day, or basically every single flippin’ day in Australia, at 86 degrees (30°C),
The lifespan of coronavirus on surfaces was very close to what we used to believe.
It could survive:
- 3 Days on Cotton or Vinyl.
- 7 Days on Glass, Steel, and Money made from Plastics.
- 21 Days on Paper Money with only 1% of the virus being infectious after 1 week.
At an even-higher temperature, it seems some of the hot-weather hopes might be correct.
Because there at a blistering 104°F (40°C) you might only get in the Southwest it survived:
- 16 Hours or Less on Cotton.
- 14 Hours on Glass, Steel, and Money made from Plastics or Paper.
- 48 Hours on any type of Vinyl, including but not limited to hipster listening-materials.
BUT, the real kicker is the situation we will be faced-with very soon in the northern hemisphere.
No, not “Crocodile Dundee IV, Electric Boogaloo”.
Lower temperatures, drier air, and less UV-radiation from the sun.
Under those conditions, cleaning every possible surface, and not just your hands, will be Extremely-important.
Because at good ole’ room-temperature of 68 Degrees (20°C), CSIRO says coronavirus can survive at-least:
- 14 Days or less on Cotton.
- A Minimum of 28 Days on Glass, Steel, Vinyl, and Money made from Paper or Plastics.
And while there might be a ~tiny~ bit of hope because these were under lab conditions with 0% UV-light.
Things get even worse, because the relative-humidity was kept at 50%.
While during the winter in the northern-hemisphere it can average Much lower than that between October and March!
So remember, the list of Social Activity Risks we got a while back,
It calculated those risks from the accumulation of these factors in any one place:
1) Indoors with an Enclosed Airspace
2) People in Proximity
3) People Touching Each Other
4) Some people won’t or can’t Wear Masks
5) People with a high Respiration rate
6) People raising their Voices
7) Events with a Long Duration
8) High-Touch Surfaces that are hard to keep clean
It’s not just the surfaces in a fixed-location that are problematic.
Another stealth-health factor that comes up now you know how long coronavirus can last on surfaces in cold, dry conditions.
It’s also the high-touch surfaces that you bring with you, too!
Anything like Keys, Earbuds, Watches & of-course the AirSoap company’s favorite target: Smartphones!
So as much as we’re reminded to wear masks and social-distance,
CSIRO’s Dr. Larry Marshall points out that spreading the virus from surfaces is effective to the point that virus-researchers can predict its spread by mapping out those high-touch/hard-to-clean ones, too.
Even though we get nagged every few years by a gadget blog to clean our keyboards & mice because they’re disgusting,
This Fall & Winter might be an especially-important time to pay attention to the cleanliness of not just our lungs and hands,
But Everything we touch, whether it’s stuck in one place or we take it with us.
Because under those cold, dry conditions, you never know how much stealthy coronavirus is hanging out on it!
• Source: CSIRO
• Source Study: BMC/Virology – The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces