General Health

Life of the coronavirus on surfaces – How to prevent the coronavirus | Updated 2023

The novel coronavirus spreads from person to person through a range of media. This virus is proving deadly to human civilization due to its sheer ability to survive on surfaces around us for a period long enough-/*- for multiple people to come into contact with it. How long it remains viable on different surfaces depends on the surface and how the virus interacts with it.

Coronavirus – Carriers and their role in spreading COVID-19

Simply and regularly touching a surface has now become a high risk situation. We are surrounded by surfaces that could harbor the deadly coronavirus, such as door handles, postal parcels, milk packs and bottles, elevator buttons, ATM screens, mobile phones, etc. These everyday objects and surfaces around us that the virus attaches to are known as fomites , which, if contaminated, lead to the spread of the coronavirus and can expose you to COVID-19.

Coronavirus – viability on different surfaces

Researchers have conducted a series of tests to determine the viability of the coronavirus under different conditions and on different surfaces.

The coronavirus has been found to be most stable on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, lasting up to 72 hours. The virus has also been found to remain viable on copper and cardboard surfaces for up to 4 hours and 2 hours, respectively. These series of tests helped establish that transmission of the coronavirus by germ carriers is possible.

Coronavirus on surfaces how to prevent coronavirus

Coronavirus on surfaces how to prevent coronavirus

However, according to researchers, a person needs to be exposed to a certain amount of viruses in order to become infected. This means the fewer viruses there are on a given surface, the less likely someone is to touch it and become infected. In addition, the infection can only be transmitted when a person touches their eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them, which allows the virus to enter the person’s body through the mucous membranes.

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Coronavirus – ways to protect yourself from transmission of infectious agents

Washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect yourself from contamination. Also, health experts recommend regularly cleaning and disinfecting your surrounding surfaces to kill the virus that may be on them.

Here are some simple steps you can take in your daily chores to avoid transmission of the coronavirus through Fomite –

  • Regular cleaning & disinfection of doorknobs, elevator buttons, ATM screens, mobile devices, etc. The frequency of cleaning required is directly proportional to the number of people these surfaces are exposed to on a daily basis.
  • Packets and bottles of milk that arrive at your doorstep each morning need to be washed with dish soap and water before touching anything else in your home.
  • Delivery and postal packages should be left outside the house if possible and only the contents should be allowed in.
  • If you go outside in public places, when you return home you must shower, change into fresh clothes and throw away the old ones for washing. This ensures that no infectious virus that may have attached itself to your skin or clothing gets inside your home and contaminates it.

Check out this video by Dr. Shikha Panwar, Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad, in which he talks about pathogen transmission of the coronavirus and how you can protect yourself from it.

It is noteworthy that as the hours pass, the coronavirus begins to decompose on the surfaces. This means that the likelihood of becoming infected from the virus sitting on a given surface decreases over time. The window of infection is highest in the first 10 minutes, the first hour, or the first two hours, depending on the surface.

Coronavirus – carriers vs. humans – the main culprit

Despite everything, it is important to understand that pathogens are not the main drivers of the coronavirus pandemic. Direct human-to-human transmission is the main culprit behind the outbreak of COVID-19, and the only way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to scrupulously practice social distancing, self-quarantine, and good hygiene.

The coronavirus takes up to 14 days for an infected person to develop symptoms, making it much more difficult to detect, track and stop. That’s why it’s important that we try to win this fight COVID-19 in India by doing whatever needs to be done by us as citizens before things get out of hand.


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