Coronavirus Can Stay in Aerosols for Hours and on Surfaces for Days

Coronavirus Can Stay in Aerosols for Hours

When the virus was first discovered, half of the world chose not to believe its existence. Now that the death toll has risen to thousands, there are still people that deny this coronavirus exists. With the global pandemic, researchers were having trouble dotting down all the reasons that might be aiding in the spread of this virus.

Transmission of the virus

One of the most shocking ways that the virus is able to spread is through aerosols. Not only does the virus remain in the air for hours, but it also has the ability to survive on certain surfaces for days. The virus that causes the coronavirus disease is able to thrive in certain conditions. Scientists from several universities such as Princeton, UCLA, CDA etc. were able to come up with research that stated how long the virus was able to remain in the air.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

It has been given a shorter name (SARS-CoV-2), and according to the data collected from research, this virus was detectable in aerosols easily for up to three hours. This could also survive for a longer time period on other surfaces. When considering copper, it could remain active on it for four hours, twenty-four hours for cardboard and up to two or three days on plastic or steel. The spread of the diseases during this time frame was extremely easy.

Stability of SARS-CoV-2

The stability of this virus depends on the surface it is staying on. Some people might be able to get the virus when they touch the items that have been contaminated. Other people might be able to get the virus from the air itself. Once the data was used to find out the stability life of the virus, researchers share it with their colleagues, so the data gets spread out and around.

One of the recent researches gave us insight into the lifespan of the virus outside the human body. However, some scientists put through the argument here and say that it does not mean the virus can be just as infectious on other surfaces for days.

The general conclusion derived from the study indicated that the virus lives longer on a surface than it does in an aerosol form.

Infected surfaces

Through research and studies, scientists came to the agreement that the virus was able to stay alive in an aerosol form for three hours. It stayed alive for four hours on copper. Its lifespan was longer on cardboard delivery boxes. It could stay alive for days on plastic or stainless steel.

Even though this research provides reliable data to reflect upon, there are no suggestions that you should not deliver anything to your homes during the whole quarantine period.

The main objective of this study was to find out the rate of decay of the virus under different environmental conditions. This rate is also known as the half-life. This term is already enough on its own to scare most of the people out there who have studied radioactivity.

Environmental Factors in play

There are several factors that would affect the way the virus is reacting under particular circumstances. Light and heat are known to speed up the rate of decay of the virus. However, scientists prefer not to jump to immediate conclusions when finding out how the virus is affected by its surroundings. The time duration in which a virus remains on a surface depends on the quantity of the virus itself.

Many studies show that the coronavirus is more likely to survive on any specific surface if it is present in a considerable amount. You also need to have exposure to a certain level of virus in order to get infected. A large number of virus particles need to land on the surface for it to remain infectious for a longer period of time.

All this information helps us in figuring out what the detectable levels of the virus are. Newer studies might prove to be scientifically accurate, but continuous research needs to be conducted in order to figure out the nature of any virus in question.

Even with the data at our disposal, it may not be entirely helpful to a person in the real world that is trying to establish exactly how different infectious surfaces might be.

More evidence of its lifespan in the environment

It is also possible to catch the virus from contaminated mail or from boxed delivery. Finding this out was another unpleasant surprise for people who had to order food or other items into their house during the quarantine. However, it is very unlikely for the virus to survive in larger quantities throughout the whole delivery process. When speaking with Business Insider, Elizabeth McGraw noted that if this kind of transmission had been happening, we would have seen huge spikes in coronavirus transmission a few months ago. This is the reason why transmission through packages does not feel like a major problem.

Transmission of the virus through the air

The aerosol data given to us presented a study that provided a bigger concern. It suggested that the virus can travel through the air more easily than we initially thought. Much of the information was made available through the press release. The study given suggested to us that coronavirus could easily be acquired through the air as well. This was an alarming announcement.

An NIH scientist that was working on the new study stressed it to her team’s research that aerosol transmission did not come with the sufficient evidence they needed. But there were notes published to confirm the whole plausibility of aerosol transmission.


New scientific discoveries about the virus are helping us understand the disease better and take improved measures to prevent it. The scientific process to find out the stability of the viruses can get messy or confusing at times. However, the results are vital in understanding the nature of this virus and how it might continue to influence the world.

Tahir Azam is a Freelance Writer & Digital Marketer who helps different clients from all over the globe. He’s a proud father of Muhammad Dayyan Choudhry & Muhammad Taha Choudhry. Tahir has written over 6000 blogs, 800+ eBooks, and 700+ websites for all types of clients.

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