A Look Into How Long COVID-19 Lives on Surfaces

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The Coronavirus pandemic leaves the world with countless questions, and because it's so new, there are many conflicting answers. Although we know the virus can be picked up from a surface, one of the main questions people have is: How long does the virus actually live on surfaces?

Between the front desk and work stations, salon owners and stylists are constantly touching different surfaces. And, according to an article from the Journal of Hospital Infection, other types of human coronaviruses "such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days." But, does the same go for the Novel Coronavirus? 

As reported by the BBC, Neeltje van Doremalen, a virologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), and her colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, who specialize in surface analysis, have done some of the first tests on how long SARS-CoV-2 can last on different surfaces. Their study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows that the virus could survive in droplets for up to three hours after someone coughs.  

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As far as surfaces go, the NIH study found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus survives longer on cardboard—up to 24 hours— and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. According to the BBC report, the findings suggest the virus might last this long on door handles, plastic-coated or laminated worktops and other hard surfaces. 

 The Good News

For salons that are still open and actively sanitizing all surfaces in between clients, you're doing the right thing. Further research has shown that coronaviruses can be inactivated within a minute by disinfecting surfaces with 62-71% alcohol or household bleach containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. In addition to immense sanitizing measures, the CDC recommends limiting the amount of people in all gathering spaces, salons included.

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