How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Surfaces?

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Get the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic here.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. Transmission from person to person can happen through larger droplets from sneezes and coughs but there is also growing evidence that smaller particles called aerosols can hang in the air longer and travel farther. These aerosols may also play a part in transmission.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 21, 2020



CDC: "How It Spreads," "Water Transmission and COVID-19,” “Cleaning and Disinfection for Households,” “Frequently Asked Questions.”

FDA: "Food safety and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” “Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Information for Consumers.”

Harvard Medical School: "Coronavirus Resource Center."

Journal of Hospital Infection: "Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents."

New England Journal of Medicine: "Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV-1."

News release, National Institutes of Health.

Purdue University: "Don't fear eating your fruits and veggies as virus concerns grip nation."

UC Davis: "Safe Handling of Fruits and Vegetables,” “COVID-19 FAQs for health professionals.”

Emerging Infectious Diseases: “Aerosol and Surface Distribution of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Hospital Wards, Wuhan, China, 2020.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Coronavirus (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions.”

Houston Methodist: “How Long Can Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?”

Mayo Clinic: “Can COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread through food, water, surfaces and pets?”

Hackensack Meridian Health: “Can You Get Coronavirus From Packages and Mail?”

Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials: “Can Coronavirus Live on the Bottoms of Shoes?”

The Lancet: “SARS-CoV-2 shedding and infectivity.”

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