(CBS Local) — While the coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, the experts say COVID-19 can spread when you touch a contaminated surface. But how long does it live on a surface?
The experts say viruses normally remain active longer whenever they fall on stainless steel, plastic, or other similarly hard surfaces, according to International Business Times, as compared to when they would fall of soft surfaces like fabrics.
Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer of England, says the droplets that lead to COVID-19 infection can stay on a “hard” surface like bus and train handrails, for up to 72 hours.
Whitty told House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee on Thursday that they’re probably largely gone in 48 hours, while in 72 hours, they would almost be completely gone.
For softer surfaces, the virus would last even less.
Many have wondered how long the virus stays on the surface https://t.co/XXb2ZENAOX
— Intl. Business Times (@IBTimes) March 10, 2020
Some of the factors that affect the duration of the virus in a particular location would include the temperature, the amount of virus that fell or deposited on a surface, and the temperature of the environment.
Meantime, another expert has claimed the lifespan for coronavirus could be as much as nine days.
A study published last month in the Journal of Hospital Infection investigated the lifespans of other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS found in humans on various surfaces.
That review found that on average, coronaviruses can live on surfaces such as glass, plastic or metal for between four and five days, but some could survive for up to nine days outside of the body at room temperature.
The experts say try to avoid touching public surfaces with your bare hands, but if you must, be sure to wash your them before touching your face.