More than half a million people have been confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus across the globe, with more being learned about COVID-19 by the day. Now, research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found coronavirus can survive in aerosol particles for up to three hours.
The research also found the virus can survive on cardboards for up to a day and on plastics for up to three days, reiterating the need to keep surfaces especially clean throughout the pandemic.
Experts from a group of US universities added that the virus follows similar patterns to SARS – another coronavirus which broke out in China in 2002.
The team wrote in the journal: “These findings echo those with SARS-CoV-1, in which these forms of transmission were associated with nosocomial spread and super-spreading events, and they provide information for pandemic mitigation efforts.”
Wesley Baker, CEO of ANCON Medical, an early diagnosis and aerosol specialist, who was not involved in the study, said: “This research not only demonstrates the value of washing your hands but how easily this virus could be transferred from person to person through the air that we are breathing – especially in confined spaces.
“The Government has brought in widespread social distancing measures and a raft of policies designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Early detection is vital to stopping the spread of highly infectious diseases, especially those such as COVID-19 that are contagious before symptoms show.
“Effective isolation is an important tool in containing the disease but without effective screening, the process becomes incredibly difficult.”
Around the world, total confirmed coronavirus cases have now surpassed 520,000 – impacting more than 100 countries.
The number of dead from the disease has also exceeded 24,000 as the US becomes the most infected country in the world.
The US is likely to be confirmed as the epicentre of the disease by the World Health Organization where cases continue to skyrocket.
More than 85,000 people have now confirmed to be infected in the States, 4,000 more than China despite the virus reaching American shores more than a month later.
The US has also seen a surge of cases, with the death toll exceeding 1,300 from March 27.
In the UK, where there are now more than 11,500 confirmed cases, resulting in more than 500 deaths, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a lockdown of at least three weeks in a bid to contain the virus.