Study: Lifespan of COVID-19 Versus SARS

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. compared the new coronavirus’ lifespan on surfaces to that of SARS. They found that both coronaviruses lived the longest on stainless steel and polypropylene, a type of plastic used in everything from toys to car parts. 

Both viruses lasted up to three days on plastic, and the new coronavirus lasted up to three days on steel. On cardboard, however, the new coronavirus lasted three times longer than SARS did: 24 hours, compared to eight hours.

Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, said smooth, nonporous surfaces like doorknobs and tabletops are better at carrying viruses in general. Porous surfaces — like money, hair, and fabric — don’t allow viruses to survive as long because the small spaces or holes in them can trap the microbe and prevent its transfer.

Graham added, “Consider money dirty…because it is. It goes through too many hands not to be.”


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