Covid-19 Can Live on Smartphone Screens for Up to 28 Days, Researchers Find

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Covid-19 Can Live on Smartphone Screens for Up to 28 Days, Researchers Find

Back in March, as the covid-19 pandemic took over the planet, Apple finally told users that it’s okay to use some disinfecting wipes on their iPhones. At the time, transmission risks were opaque and it was better to be safe than sorry. In the meantime, we’ve learned that saliva droplets in the air pose the clearest risk for transmitting the virus, and we may have become a little careless when it comes to being mindful of surface transmission risks.

New research from Australia’s CSIRO science agency found that under lab conditions, covid-19 was much sturdier than previously believed. The team found that when samples were tested in the dark at 68° Fahrenheit on non-porous surfaces (glass, polymer note, stainless steel, vinyl, and paper notes), infectious virus was recoverable for a whopping 28 days.

That’s 11 days longer than the influenza virus survives under the same conditions. “These findings demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible,” the researchers said.

But your life isn’t designed around maintaining the ideal conditions for a coronavirus to thrive. UV light is believed to have the ability to kill the virus and its lifespan was reduced when the Australian researchers raised the temperature in their tests.

At 86° Fahrenheit, samples of stainless steel, polymer notes, and glass showed that live infectious virus was recoverable for up to seven days.

Non-porous materials like cotton cloth were found to contain traces of infectious virus for up to 14 days with a temperature of 68° Fahrenheit.

You probably don’t have to have to act like the tips of your fingers are radioactive after you pick up a box of cereal at the grocery store. Sure, wash your hands, but there are a lot of environmental factors working in your favor in that scenario. The devices in our pockets are often getting a sample of everything we’re inadvertently touching when we’re out and about, and they should probably get a wipe down every time we wash our hands.

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