Transmission of COVID-19

Transmission of COVID-19

COVID-19 is mainly passed on by person-to-person spread between people who are in close contact with one another and by droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the virus that causes COVID-19 remains on surfaces and in aerosols for several hours to days. This study suggests that this virus is transmissible through relatively casual contact, making it very hard to contain. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel (read more on droplets/ aerosols here).

Does the weather or indoor temperature affect the survival of the COVID-19 virus on surfaces?

There is as a lot that is still unknown; such as how different conditions, such as exposure to sunlight, heat, or cold, can affect survival times of the virus.

What is the best way I can protect myself, knowing that the virus that causes COVID-19 lives on surfaces?

You are more likely to catch the infection through the air if you are next to someone infected than from a surface. Thorough cleaning surfaces with disinfectant or soap is very effective; but this does rely on proper disinfection and good hand hygiene. Make sure to use a good household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions, including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

In addition to healthcare workers and other front-line staff, cleaners, caretakers and concierges play an important role in keeping people in their buildings protected from COVID-19.

Public Health guidance on protection against the COVID-19 virus includes:

  • Cleaning and disinfect the ‘high-touch’ surfaces that many people come in contact with. These include phones, tables, bedside tables, door handles, light switches, counter tops, desks, phones, keyboards, tablets, toilets and sinks. In addition, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Avoiding touching high-contact surfaces in public.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately when you return home from a public place.
  • Keeping a distance between yourself and others particularly when in doors and/or in public settings.
  • Limiting the number of people you routinely meet outside your usual family, work, close network.
  • Most importantly, staying home if you are unwell and calling 111 if you have any flu-like symptoms.

How can we help one another?

Given the enormity of this challenge, we must all protect and care for each other, and lend a hand where we can, all while keeping a safe distance. Our aim is to slow the pace at which infection is spreading, using our resources effectively; at the same time supporting each other with kindness, and compassion as best as we can.