It seems the coronavirus causes a secondary contagion: Fear. Just ask anyone trying to buy hand sanitizer or toilet paper at their local supermarket.
In part, the angst stems from the fact virtually every surface you touch – office phone, cell phone, keyboard, mouse, faucet, door handle, cabinet drawer you name it – could harbor the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
Touch one contaminated surface and the next time you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you could infect yourself with a disease your body might not be prepared to combat.
Several factors determine how long the virus can survive outside the body. But it is clear the surface being touched is critical.
According to a recent study published at MedRxIV.org, the novel coronavirus can survive up to 4 hours on copper. That might sound like a long time, but it is nothing compared to viral longevity on cardboard. There, it remain viable up to 24 hours.
The virus feels even more at home on plastic and stainless steel, two surfaces many consumers consider easy to clean.The coronavirus can live 2 to 3 days on those surfaces. In theory, that means you could contact a door knob an infected person touched 3 days ago, and still transfer the virus to your own body.Another study concluded the virus can survive even longer, up to 9 days on some surfaces. That helps explain the continual advice from health officials that people need to practice social distancing, and wash their hands as often as possible.
Health officials know it is dangerous to come in contact with contaminated surfaces. That is why the CDC issues guidance on how to clean and disinfect them, especially for those self-quarantining at home.
Newsmax examined the most dangerous coronavirus breeding grounds. Here are 12 you would be wise to avoid at all cost:
1. Dollar Bills – Uncle Sam will not like this one: Research has shown pathogens can hide in the textured surface of paper money for days. There has not been a confirmed case of coronavirus caused by a contaminated dollar bill. But the World Health Organization spokesman recently told The Telegraph, "We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses and things like that. We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face." WHO later issued a clarificationit has not issued coronavirus-specific guidance on handling paper currency. A 2002 Southern Medical Journal Study found 94% of bills tested showed signs of pathogenic contamination. That suggests it would be a good idea to pay with plastic, or even better, use "contactless payments" like PayPal or Apple Pay.
2. Elevator Buttons – One of the biggest danger zones is the plastic button you push to whisk you to your floor. The hard plastic these buttons are made of can maintain active coronavirus cells for up to 48 hours. Medical officials urge people to use a knuckle, rather than a fingertip, to hit the call button or to designate a floor. So think twice before you start punching buttons.
3. Bathroom Shower Curtains – These are so dirty you will want to take a shower after touching them, a quandary in itself. A SafeHome.org study found the bacteria concentrations on shower curtains are higher than on toilet seats. The study detected 16.2 million "colony-forming units" of bacteria on shower curtains, and another 15.9 million on shower floors. Toilet seats, by comparison, harbored a mere 235,000 colonies.