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New study shows coronavirus can live for hours on air particles and days on various surfaces

The virus can last up to three days on plastic, three days on stainless steel, four hours on copper surfaces, and up to one day on cardboard, according to the study.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Research from a federally funded study shows the COVID-19 virus can live in droplets in the air for several hours and up to several days on different surfaces.

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, UCLA and Princeton University examined the coronavirus virus and its survivability on plastic, stainless steel, cardboard, copper and in aerosol droplets.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine Tuesday, show the virus can live for up to three hours in aerosols suspended in the air, such as a sneeze or cough from an infected person.

The virus can last up to three days on plastic, three days on stainless steel, four hours on copper surfaces, and up to one day on cardboard, according to the study.

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“The evidence we have at this point is not suggesting we have airborne transmission,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of the infection diseases at the Minnesota Department of Health. “If someone is coughing, yes you are 'aerosolizing' the virus in that regard but not just standing here breathing.”

Ehresmann said the study provides good data, but it was conducted in an lab -created, experimental environment and not the real world. She says even with this data, the MDH recommends the same safety recommendations.

“For Minnesotans, the message is if you are washing your hands frequently and wiping things down and avoid touching your eyes and face, all of those things are going to address any of the data presented in the study,” said Ehresmann.

She said if you are handling the mail, just be sure to wash your hands afterward.

Both the A and B flu viruses can survive up to two days on hard surfaces and up to 12 hours on cloth, paper, and tissues, according to a study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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