|How Long Does the Coronavirus Really Live on Surfaces?|
|By Robert Kravitz, President AlturaSolutions|
An October 2020 study published in Virology Journal, an open-access journal that publishes scientific data and clinical studies, found that the pathogens that cause COVID-19 can live as long as 28 days on surfaces. This is far longer than similar studies looking into the pathogen’s life span.
According to their conclusion:
These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer periods than generally considered possible. These results could be used to inform improved risk mitigation procedures to prevent the … spread of COVID-19.
What does this mean for correctional facility administrators? If the pathogen that causes COVID can live on surfaces for nearly a month, it would be nearly impossible to keep correctional facilities healthy, protecting both inmates and staff.
But here is what we need to realize about studies like this: they are not necessarily based on real-world situations. This is not to say the Virology study is wrong or not accurate. Far from it. This study was peer-reviewed before it was published and the data are sound. But as we dig deeper into this and similar studies, we find the following:
Further, the media often do not report all of the study parameters, which can impact the life span of the virus. Several important factors may complicate a study’s conclusions. Among them are the following:
With this understood, are there any guidelines correctional administrators can follow when it comes to the coronavirus's life span on surfaces? According to various studies that have been peer-reviewed by medical professionals, the following should help:
And fortunately, technologies such as UV (ultraviolet) lights, electrostatic sprayers, and no-touch cleaning systems, as we have discussed before in this column, are making this easier than ever before.
2020 was a year of confusion. Incomplete and inaccurate information about the coronavirus may have added to the confusion.
The guidelines discuss here are intended to clarify the facts about the virus, helping correctional administrators maintain a much cleaner and healthier facility than ever before.
Robert Kravitz is a frequent writer for the professional cleaning industry.
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