Coronavirus & skin: New study reinforces importance of handwashing

U.S. & World

(WDIV)  Recently, there has been a lot of focus on how COVID-19 is spread through the air via droplets and aerosols, but now a new study is reemphasizing the continued importance of hand washing.

Toward the beginning of the pandemic, a study showed that the SARS-Cov-2 virus can survive on cardboard for as long as 24 hours and on stainless steel for about 72 hours. It highlighted the importance of cleaning surfaces that may have become significantly contaminated. The question remained — what about our skin?

Figuring out how long a contagious virus can survive on human skin isn’t an easy challenge as not many people are willing to have live SARS-CoV-2 smeared on them just for science. That’s why Japanese researchers used an unusual alternative — human skin collected at autopsy about 24 hours after death.

Their study, published in the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases,” — tested the survival time of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on human skin samples as well as other surfaces including stainless steel and glass and then compared it to the survival time of influenza a virus.

What they found was significant — the SARS-CoV-2 virus could survive on human skin for nine hours — significantly longer than the roughly two hours that the flu virus could remain a threat.

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