A startling discovery was made on Wednesday when scientists across the US dug deeper into the coronavirus pandemic. They sought out fast food items from all 50 states and tested them for COVID-19.
“38 out of the 50 states showed positive signs of COVID-19 on fast food wrappers and cups,” said Richard Schmitz of Harvard University Research Department. “This spread is only going to get worse, not better. This is going to kill millions faster than the fast food itself. These restaurants should not be open!”
But how long can the new coronavirus linger on surfaces, anyway? A new analysis found that the virus can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours. This study was originally published in the preprint database medRxiv on March 11, and now a revised version was published March 17 in The New England Journal of Medicine.
What’s more, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found on “a variety of surfaces” in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people who were infected with COVID-19 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, up to 17 days after the passengers disembarked, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, this was before disinfection procedures took place and “data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces,” according to the analysis. In other words, it’s not clear if the viral particles on these surfaces could have infected people.
Schmitz says he cannot emphasize enough how important it is right now to stay inside and cook your own food. “It’s the only way this thing is going to be contained. If we don’t, we are on track to far surpass the numbers of China and Italy combined.”