Modes of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus (novel coronavirus) from person to person are the focus of current global pandemic. In addition to the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets that are generated when someone sneezes, talks or coughs; it is possible that the virus also gets transmitted by touching a contaminated surface and then you touching your nose, eyes or mouth.

Research is still going on on how long COVID-19 can live on various surfaces. Many experiments have been done to test how long these viruses survive in different conditions. Below are some of the researches done till now about the duration till which SARS-CoV-2 survives on various surfaces:

1. Plastic

Most of the objects we use in day today life are made of plastic.Some of the examples of such objects are packaging, credit cards, light switches, computer keyboards and mouse, toys, water bottles, milk containers etc.

According to an NEJM article it is said that virus on plastic stays up to 3 days, but various researchers in Lancet said that it detected the virus for longer period up to 7 days.

2. Metal

Metal is another variety of object that we use every day. The most common metals that are used in day-to-day life include stainless steel and copper. Some of the examples are coins, cookware, jewellery, door handles, pots and pans, etc. There is an interesting thing to note that the virus stability on copper surfaces is less as no viable virus was detected after only four hours. But viruses on metal surfaces can survive till 3 to 7 days.

3. Glass

Researchers have noticed that on glass no virus could be detected after 4 days. Some of the examples of the glass objects that we touch every day are windows, mirrors, glasses, screens of TV computers and smartphones, etc.

4. Wood

Most of the furniture, table-tops and shelves are made of wood, hence it is one of the most frequently touched objects. Researchers have found that viable virus from wooden surface could not be detected after 2 days.

5. Cardboard

You may come in contact with objects that are made of cardboard like foodpackaging, shipping boxes, etc. The NEJM study after doing various tests found out that no viable virus is detected on cardboard after 24 hours.

Can COVID-19 Survive in Water?
It is unknown exactly how long COVID-19 virus can survive in water but when researchers tested the virus in the water they found out that it was more stable at lower water temperature and less stable at higher water temperature. According to the CDC, the SARS – CoV-2 virus has not yet been detected in drinking water.

Can coronavirus survive on food? 
CDC has found that coronavirus generally survives poorly on food products and packaging. But even then one should still be careful while handling food packaging that can be contaminated. According to the FDA, no such reports have been reported yet where food packaging is associated with the coronavirus. One should always clean fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming it, especially if you are eating it raw. It is also important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before eating or handling food. 

In summary, with so little concrete information on how long the new coronavirus can survive on various surfaces, it is important that we maintain proper hygiene and appropriately clean high touch or potentially contaminated surfaces.