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COVID-19 Survives 28 Days on Money! How it Happened in This Study

October 27, 2020

Scientists across the globe are studying COVID-19 to learn more about infection, treatment and long-term aftereffects.

It’s good to be informed and it’s good to stay on top of what’s new with the virus, but it’s also good to have context for this avalanche of information. For example, a recent study out of Australia provided the irresistible headline “Novel coronavirus can last 28 days on glass, currency, Australian study finds.”

It continued, “Findings from the study done by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, appear to show that in a very controlled environment the virus remained infectious for longer than other studies have found.

“CSIRO researchers found that at (68 degrees Fahrenheit) the SARS-COV-2 virus remained infectious for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as paper banknotes and glass found on cellphone screens. By comparison, Influenza A virus has been found to survive on surfaces for 17 days. The study was published in the Virology Journal.”

Dr. Virginia Bieluch, Chief of Infectious Diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, said the phrase “very controlled environment” is critical when assessing the study.

“These investigators found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can survive on money for up to 28 days,” she said. “These experiments were conducted under artificial conditions. The temperature was kept constant and the money kept in a dark place to protect it from light, which might inactivate the virus.”

Dr. Bieluch said that, yes, a person could touch a contaminated surface and touch his or her mouth, nose, or eyes and become infected with COVID-19.

“However,  this way of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 is much less efficient than via respiratory droplets,” she said. “The most common way SARS-CoV-2 spreads is from person to person, usually when people are closer than six feet from one another. When the infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breaths, the virus can be found in droplets that spread from person to person in settings of close contact.”

Studies such as this one “do highlight the need to wash or sanitize hands frequently,” she added. “Good hand hygiene can protect you from COVID-19 as well as from other infections that could be spread more readily by contact with contaminated surfaces.”

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