As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in Canada, many wonder (and are often confused) about how long the virus can last on surfaces and in the air.

In a recent report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases published on Tuesday, scientists tried to pinpoint exactly how long the virus could remain on a variety of surfaces, including household items and hospital settings, through coughing or touching.

To perform the experiment, researchers used an aerosol device to mimic the microscopic droplets that would be caused by a cough or a sneeze. Next, they waited to see how long the virus would remain on surfaces.

The report found when the virus was in droplet form (mimicking someone coughing or sneezing via the aerosol device) it could be transferred to others and infect people for at least three hours.

On surfaces in particular, the virus was viable after three days on plastic and stainless steel, and less than a day on cardboard.

Study offers valuable insight on the virus

Jozef Nissimov, an assistant professor at the department of biology at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont., told Global News this study gives researchers “valuable experimental data.”

He says the study further supports current advice given by the World Health Organisation (WHO), government agencies and infectious disease experts on the importance of disinfecting your hands and frequently used surfaces.

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