March 13, 2020 at 8:00 AM EDT
Excerpt: Scientists studying the novel coronavirus are quickly uncovering features that allow it to infect and sicken human beings. Every virus has a signature way of interacting with the world, and this one — SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease covid-19 — is well-equipped to create a historic pandemic.
The coronavirus may take many days — up to 14 — before an infection flares into symptoms, and although most people recover without a serious illness, this is not a bug that comes and goes quickly. A serious case of covid-19 can last for weeks.
This coronavirus can establish itself in the upper respiratory tract, said Vincent Munster, chief of the Virus Ecology Section of Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a facility in Hamilton, Mont., that is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That enables the virus to spread more easily through coughing and sneezing. Munster and his colleagues have been studying the novel coronavirus under laboratory conditions to better understand its viability outside a host organism — in the air and on surfaces.
Those experiments found that at least some coronavirus can potentially remain viable — capable of infecting a person — for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
Source and to read more: The Washington Post at https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/coronavirus-can-stay-infectious-for-days-on-surfaces/2020/03/12/9b54a99e-6472-11ea-845d-e35b0234b136_story.html