Updated April 6, 4:42 PM CT
How long can the Coronavirus live?
March 21, 2020
Coronavirus can live on surfaces for days
Here are the facts on how long the coronavirus can live on things you come in contact with: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday found that the coronavirus could be detected up to three hours after aerosolization in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. (See chart below)
So, could your packages arriving from Amazon be infected? The answer seems to be no. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the virus is spread through respiratory droplets and there is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 with imported goods.
"In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures," the CDC said on its website.
The World Health Organization offered similar guidance saying it is safe to receive packages from any area.
"The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low," the WHO said in a Q&A about the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, (who has now become a trending MEME by putting his hand over his face after President Trump referred to the State Department as the "Deep" State Department,) said during a CNN coronavirus town hall that if the disease were to transfer onto something like mail, it would likely be a low concentration.
Despite the coronavirus leading to more than 290,000 illnesses and more than 11,953 deaths worldwide as of this writing, that's nothing compared with the flu, also called influenza. In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 36 million illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That said, scientists have studied seasonal flu for decades. So, despite the danger of it, we know a lot about flu viruses and what to expect each season. In contrast, very little is known about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, dubbed COVID-19, because it's so new. This means COVID-19 is something of a wild card in terms of how far it will spread and how many deaths it will cause.
"Despite the morbidity and mortality with influenza, there's a certainty … of seasonal flu," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a White House press conference on Jan. 31. "I can tell you all, guaranteed, that as we get into March and April, the flu cases are going to go down. You could predict pretty accurately what the range of the mortality is and the hospitalizations [will be]," Fauci said. "The issue now with [COVID-19] is that there's a lot of unknowns."
DO YOUR PART
Do not go to the emergency room unless it is urgent. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your physician first.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cover your coughs and sneezes. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
Coronaviruses get their name from their shape. These round viruses are surrounded by a halo of spiky proteins. That makes them look a bit like a crown or the corona of the sun.
From The World Health Organization
Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names. For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. People often know the name of a disease, such as measles, but not the name of the virus that causes it (rubeola).
There are different processes, and purposes, for naming viruses and diseases.
Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines. Virologists and the wider scientific community do this work, so viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).
Diseases are named to enable discussion on disease prevention, spread, transmissibility, severity and treatment. Human disease preparedness and response is WHO’s role, so diseases are officially named by WHO in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
Here is a link to the World Health Organization's website explaining more: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/naming-the-coronavirus-disease-(covid-2019)-and-the-virus-that-causes-it
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