While it is difficult to determine exactly how long viruses can stay intact outside the body, since it is so dependent on environmental conditions, different viruses do appear to have different levels of resiliency. Flu viruses, for example, are generally rendered harmless after nine hours on hard surfaces and four hours on soft surfaces. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is in the same virus family as COVID-19 virus, lasts for two days on hard surfaces. A recent study concluded that human coronaviruses can last on surfaces at room temperature for up to 9 days. The World Health Organization’s early estimates suggest that COVID-19 virus can survive on hard surfaces for a few hours, or up to several days.
Drafted: 10 March 2020.