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Coronavirus stays active longer in indoor environments, expert says

Doctor Aileen Marty, a Professor of Infectious Disease at Florida International University, says the virus survives differently at different temperatures.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — We're learning more and more each day about the coronavirus. Now we know from the CDC, most people get it by in-person contact. But we've heard about the virus staying "active" on surfaces, possibly getting you sick.

"The virus survives differently at different temperatures, and in different materials," Dr. Aileen Marty explains.

Marty is an expert on infectious diseases. She says coronavirus can survive on a variety of outdoor surfaces, for example on playground equipment, the virus could stay active for hours.

"After a few hours if there’s nice UV light, and a there’s plenty of wind, it sort of self-activating the virus," she explained.

If you head to the beach, Marty says wipe down your equipment like chairs or umbrellas when you get home. Recent studies show coronavirus seems to favor inside environments.

"This virus does well at 74 degrees and 50 percent humidity. Which is how a lot of us like our indoor buildings to be. Which means the virus survives particularly well indoors," she said.

And research shows it also does well on hard surfaces, so keep them clean too.

"Then you can expect it will last on steel, somewhere between a 24-48 hours. If it’s made out of copper, it will last maybe eight hours maybe a day. If you’re talking about cardboard surfaces, that can last up to 24 hours, and if it’s plastic, it can last 48 hours or more," she said.

But at the end of the day, Marty says the best thing you can really do to protect yourself from the virus on surfaces is to wash your hands regularly.

We also asked about clothes, and she says while there's no specific research on SARS2 in fabric, they know a similar virus, SARS1, can live eight to 20 hours on cloth. So, yes, make sure you're washing your clothes after any possible contact as well.

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