COVID-19: How many days does the coronavirus live on money, masks, and clothing?

As of this writing, on April 7, 2020, more than 1,340,000 people on our planet have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. To slow down the speed of its spread, the authorities of many countries have asked people not to contact each other and stay at home. It is also recommended that all people wash their hands as often as possible and do not touch their face, because virus particles can persist on the surfaces of objects and enter the human body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Today, when going out on the street, almost every person comes into contact with three things: a medical mask put on his face, his own clothes and money. The question arises — how long can particles of the COVID-19 coronavirus live on their surface and pose a danger to our health? The answer to this question was given by Chinese scientists.

To do this, they conducted a fairly simple experiment, the essence of which was described in the scientific journal The Lancet Microbe. The researchers took 5 microliters of COVID-19 virus and applied them to different materials using a pipette. In particular, scientists were interested in how long the virus will remain active on paper and various tissues. The choice fell on these materials because they are made of money, clothing and medical masks. The experiment was conducted in a room with a relative humidity of 65% — such conditions are typical for both premises and the street. And this was very important for scientists, because they wanted to detect the viability of the virus under any conditions.

5 microliters is equal to 0.005 milliliters, so you can only see the volume of viruses under the microchip.

In the course of observations, scientists have identified an interesting property of the COVID-19 coronavirus. As illogical as it sounds, virus particles are better held on smooth surfaces than on rough ones. But it would seem that on a rough surface, the virus clearly has something to cling to and it should stay longer. But no, uneven surfaces are clearly inconvenient for him, but scientists can not yet explain this phenomenon.


As for how many days the coronavirus lives on items, the results are as follows:

the tissue holds the virus for about two days, which is not very long;
money keeps the virus on itself for four days;
medical masks preserve the virus for more than seven days, and during the first four days the virus is especially active.
In General, you can read more about the life time of the coronavirus on different surfaces in the material of Daria Yeletskaya.

At what temperature does the coronavirus die?
In the course of scientific work, the second property of the COVID-19 coronavirus was found out. It turned out that it is really sensitive to temperature and the higher it is — the less time the virus lives:

at 4 degrees Celsius the virus lived for 14 days;
at 22 degrees Celsius the virus lived for 7 days;
at 37 degrees Celsius the virus died on day 2;
at 70 degrees Celsius the virus died 5 minutes later;
at 220 degrees Celsius, the virus dies in a minute.
Based on the results of the study, it can be assumed that a bath and a hot bath can actually destroy the virus, but there is no scientific evidence for this. And if there were, hot water treatments could only kill the virus on the surface of the body. And to remove the virus particles from the skin, as we know, it is enough to wash your hands and face thoroughly with soap, and no walk in a hot bath, and even more so in a bathhouse is not necessary.

And the fact that the coronavirus can persist on medical masks for two weeks is frightening. This is another proof that medical masks need to be changed every two hours. At the same time, their external side should never be touched, because if there are viruses, they are concentrated on this part of the mask. If you have a homemade mask, just like my colleague Lyuba Sokovikova, it should be washed regularly and preferably in a washing machine.

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