The coronavirus COVID-19 has gone from an offshore global phenomenon to a domestic threat as community spread makes its way through parts of the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with local health partners to distribute tests to mitigate the continued spread.
COVID-19 has been compared to the flu and other coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, which is prompting researchers and civilians alike to try to prevent infection by using similar tactics. COVID-19 spreads easily, and according to multiple outlets, is mostly contracted through respiratory droplets that travel up to nine feet through the air when a patient coughs, sneezes or exhales.
Aside from purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks, disinfecting surfaces is another popular method to prevent catching the coronavirus pathogen.
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Banknotes may carry the virus, a spokesperson from the World Health Organization told the Telegraph, and China's central bank is disinfecting and even destroying some paper currency. Jürgen Haas, a professor of infection medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said that COVID-19 can exist on other hard surfaces for a significant amount of time, although no one knows for exactly how long.
Infection from a contaminated surface remains low, as the main means of transmission is person-to-person. But Dr. Christine Tait-Burkard, an expert in infection and immunity at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh told The Guardian, that there are every day items that pose a risk of coronavirus transmission, including:
- Door handles
- Office kitchens
- Guardrails and handrails
- Communal bathrooms
- Hospital surfaces
- Airplane seats
Some health officials are taking this to heart. New York City are trying to disinfect subway train surfaces every two hours, with a focus on ticket dispensers and handrails.
Correction: This article has been updated at 7:45 pm on March 5 to clarify the sources of information.
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