The pandemic, COVID-19 has infected 422,629 and caused 18,895 deaths worldwide to date with the toll rising every day. What enhances the risk is the fact that the virus that causes “Coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days on surfaces.
According to the NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can sustain up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
This triggers a great concern regarding items of our day-to-day usage. The novel virus can survive for different time span on different surfaces. None-the-less, it was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours meaning that the virus can survive in air for several hours.
The pandemic disease has imposed unimaginable changes on our daily lives all around the world and the entire population is under its grasp. Although the situation is worrying, and rather devastating in some cases, being aware of the virus's behaviour and understanding ways to avoid it seems to be the best way to deal with the crisis. COVID 19 is a respiratory disease that spreads through droplets in the air. What makes it especially dangerous is its high rate of contagion, as the virus has the ability to survive outside the human body, in the air, and on surfaces such as metal, glass and plastics, if they were not properly disinfected.
The virus is spreading through air droplets—either released through coughing and sneezing or through contaminated hands and surfaces while a single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets. According to a study by virologists in the United States, the virus can survive up to 3 hours after being released through air droplets. As soon as they reach surfaces, such as walls, clothing, furniture, or other objects, the virus behaves differently depending on the type of surface it lands on.
Another study on the all types of Coronavirus regardless of its latest mutation, SARS-CoV2, showed that while on glass or wood surfaces, the virus will remain present for up to 4 days, on other materials such as aluminium, it will survive for about 8 hours only.
These data are alarming to the core but on a brighter note, research has also shown that Coronaviruses can be eradicated within one minute by disinfecting surfaces with alcohol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or bleach containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, which are in fact common household cleaning products. Adding to this important information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, "Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser."
It is always important to remember that natural resources, such as the sun and the wind, can make environments much healthier in an organic and passive way. The situation presents humanity an option and obligation to invent new self-cleaning materials, which can react to viruses and bacteria by killing them automatically. This can be an interesting look towards the future of materials. The possibilities are endless when we forge towards a better and more sustainable future.