N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
Published 5:00 a.m. ET June 26, 2020 | Updated 9:32 a.m. ET June 26, 2020
CDC says coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ by touching surfaces or objects. But it still ‘may be possible.’
New research from Battelle has found that the virus that causes COVID-19 is undetectable on books and other common materials after three days.
Researchers “inoculated” hard and soft book covers, paper pages inside closed books, mylar book jackets and plastic DVD cases with liquid droplets containing thousands of particles of SARS-CoV-2. After one day, the virus was undetectable on hard and soft book covers as well as DVD cases. After three days, it could no longer be found on book’s paper pages or mylar book jackets.
Coronavirus could be transmitted by touching a surface and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes, but “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” according to recently updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers from Disease Control and Prevention. Person-to-person contact is believed to the primary way the disease spreads, per the CDC.
This study follows several others that have previously offered guidance on how long coronavirus can exist on surfaces.
A study published in mid-March in the New England Journal of Medicine found that viable coronavirus could live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for three days and survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard. Over time, the amount of viable virus on these surfaces decreased sharply.
A visual guide: How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces?
A CDC report published two weeks later said that genetic material from coronavirus was found on surfaces in the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers left their cabins. The genetic material, RNA, is not the coronavirus itself.
Experts maintain that the best way to prevent illness is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
“If surfaces are cleaned or even if you touch a contaminated surface but then wash your hands properly, the low risk of transmission from a contaminated surface becomes even lower risk,” Dr. Manisha Juthani, an infectious disease doctor and associate professor of medicine at Yale University, told USA TODAY last month.
Contributing: David Oliver and Joshua Bote, USA TODAY; Rita Price, The Columbus Dispatch
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