Study Contradicts de Blasio Claim That Virus Can’t Live on Surfaces for Long

A scientist at the CDC studies the coronavirus. Photo via CDC.

A new study published Wednesday calls into question guidance that Mayor Bill de Blasio has been giving New Yorkers for the past week. He has said that the coronavirus cannot live on surfaces for more than a few minutes, which would alleviate concerns about using mass transit or otherwise touching surfaces in busy areas.

But a new study from scientists at the National Institutes of Health, Princeton University, UCLA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that virus can indeed live on surfaces for longer — and what’s more it can hang in the air for extended periods of time, according to Gothamist.

The paper, published Wednesday, said that experiments showed that the virus could linger in the air for up to three hours. On surfaces, it lasted up to four hours on copper and up to 24 hours on cardboard and between two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The findings are similar to that of SARS, another type of coronavirus.

The study argued that the viability of the virus may explain why there have so-called “super-spreading events” associated with COVID-19.

“A tendency toward such super-spreading events has two important consequences for the epidemiology of emerging infections: it makes any given introduction of infection more likely to die out by chance, but when outbreaks do occur they are explosive and can overwhelm hospital and public health capacity,” wrote the researchers.

NEWS | 10 comments | permalink
    1. chris says:

      Just stay off of the subway and bus walk it good for you.

      • Irena says:

        So you think that everyone’s work, home is within walking distance? Nobody rides the always crowded buses and subways by choice. It’s the only way to get from here to there, whether work, doc, hospital, shopping, etc.

        That’s like telling New Yorkers to stand three feet away from people in a city where you can’t walk without being constantly bumped, pushed up against someone. Three feet distance doesn’t exist on most sidewalks.

        A mayor who says ridiculous stuff such as “Wait for a less crowded car during rush hour” doesn’t know what goes on with subways, all day, not just rush hour.

        And, yes, sure, your boss will tell you to work “off hours” Seriously? NOT

      • Woody says:

        There’s no need to jump down someone’s throat for suggesting that people walk. Poster’s comment is obviously not directed at people who can’t do it for whatever reason. Sometimes one has to just keep quiet instead of butting heads with someone over a reasonable general suggestion.

    2. Veronica says:

      Thank you mayor bill. Perhaps you should let the experts do the talking.

    3. Zanarkand says:

      On the plus side, I witnessed a subway area actually being cleaned for the first time ever since moving here 10 years ago.

    4. pqdubya says:

      The wonder is the virus hasn’t been rampant in the City given all the close contact esp in subway. It may be because so many New Yorkers have been carrying Purell for years. because the subway is filthy.

    5. Glen says:

      First off, DeBlasio is the Trump of the left; everything he touches dies. That said, in order to encourage bike riding, has there been any additional thought of doing something about that detour up the Hudson River bikepath from 72nd to 80th Street? I doubt I am the only one that detour discourages from biking to work in midtown west.

    6. Judy Harris says:

      My friend in the UK wrote me: “I found a statistic on viruses from British Government sources, so presumably genuine, that there were 80,000 UK deaths resulting from a Hong Kong flu pandemic in 1968/9. I lived through that and was a student in London at the time, commuting in crowded trains every day, yet I wasn’t even aware of it! Maybe in those days governments were more prepared to let these things take their natural course. I also found that there 50,000 UK deaths from regular flu in the winter 2018/19. So far we’ve had 10 deaths from CV and the whole country is on the verge of shutting down.”