Wearing a mask, washing our hands and cleaning frequently touched surfaces are a few ways we can reduce our risk of catching the COVID-19 virus. While we all practice utmost caution when it comes to cleaning surfaces, we need to be more careful about cleaning some of them.
This is because the novel coronavirus may survive for a lesser time on paper and clothes than on impermeable surfaces like plastic and glass, find a new study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay.
The coronavirus infection can be easily transmitted through virus-laden respiratory droplets that can form fomite upon falling on surfaces, which can serve as a source for the spread of infection.
The study was published in the Journal of Physics of Fluids. For the study, researchers analysed the drying of droplets on impermeable and porous surfaces. The experts found that droplets remain liquid for a much shorter period of time on porous surfaces, making these less favourable for infection.
The study also found that the virus can stay for four days on glass and seven days on plastic and stainless steel. However, the virus survived for only three hours and two days on paper and cloth respectively.
“Based on our study, we recommend that furniture in hospitals and offices, made of impermeable material, such as glass, stainless steel, or laminated wood, be covered with a porous material, such as cloth, to reduce the risk of infection upon touch,” said study author Sanghamitro Chatterjee from IIT Bombay.
It also suggests that the seats in public places like in shopping malls, restaurants and railway stations and airport waiting should be covered with cloth for reducing the spread of infection.
It was also found that 99.9 per cent of the droplet’s liquid content on both impermeable and porous surfaces evaporated within the first few minutes. The thin residual film remains on the exposed solid parts, where the virus can still survive.
The evaporation of the remaining thin film is much faster in the case of porous surfaces as compared to impermeable surfaces.
This makes cardboard boxes used for deliveries a safer option as they would inhibit virus survival. And people should clean surfaces like plastic and steel more often.
Coronavirus: Are two masks better than one? Here’s what CDC recommends
COVID-19 cases in India might be declining, but there’s no reason you should be taking your mask right off.
Not only is wearing a mask a protective measure for people until they get a vaccine, newer recommendations now suggest wearing double masks can enhance protection.
Double masking has been grabbing headlines of late in recent months, especially in the USA, which is still recording a high number of infections. Many using homemade masks are opting to use this feature as a way to safeguard themselves.