New research shows coronavirus can survive up to 28 days on surfaces

Posted at 1:47 PM, Oct 13, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. — University of South Florida Professor Dr. Jay Wolfson and health experts around the world are studying the latest research project on the coronavirus.

"This thing gives us surprises almost every week. We learn something new, and it's usually unpleasant every week," said Wolfson.

The new research is from Australia's National Science Agency, and it found the virus could survive and remain infectious on surfaces like glass, steel, and paper for up to 28 days.

"What they are concerned about, what we are all concerned about it, is if you have some viable virus on your fingers and you touch your eyes or you touch your nose or you touch your friend's eyes or nose, there's a greater risk of it being brought into the body if there's enough of it there," said Wolfson.

But Dr. Thomas Unnasch, also with USF Health, says this study was done with perfect conditions for a virus to thrive.

"They put the virus under different surfaces and then preserve them in the dark at ideal temperatures and humidity. So it's not too surprising that under those ideal conditions, that it would last quite a bit longer than it would under normal conditions."

While experts agree COVID-19 primarily spreads from person to person through droplets in the air, there is still more to understand about how it can transfer from objects or surfaces to people.

"People do have a proclivity to touch their face and their eyes, so if you are in a place that's not familiar to you and you are using things that are unfamiliar to you, just be careful," said Wolfson.

"Your own cell phone, if you are the only one using it, that's not a big deal. But door handles, faucet handles elevator buttons things like that. Wash your hands after you do that. That's a really good idea," said Unnasch.

All of the experiments in this study were done in the dark. Research has shown direct sunlight can kill the virus.

This story was first reported by Erik Waxler at WFTS in Tampa Bay, Florida.