Researchers claim the coronavirus can live on your smartphone for almost a week if you don’t clean it regularly with alcohol wipes, according to the U.K. Metro.
“You could be washing your hands, but if you start touching your smartphone screen and then touch your face that is a potential route of infection,” University of Southampton professor William Keevil told the paper.
Peter Hall, a professor from the University of Waterloo, said the screen on smartphones, which he described to Metro as “petri dishes,” should be cleaned twice a day — at lunch and dinner time.
Health experts told Metro the best way to clean your phone’s screen is to use an alcohol wipe.
Meanwhile, University of Leicester professor Mike Barer acknowledged to the paper that any surface that has been sneezed, coughed or breathed on by an ill person could be infectious but the risk of catching coronavirus is much lower than human-to-human contact.
Last week, the CDC revealed it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
An analysis of 22 earlier studies of similar coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS published online last month in the Journal of Hospital Infection, concluded that human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature. However, they can quickly be rendered inactive using common disinfectants, and may also dissipate at higher temperatures, the authors wrote. It is not yet clear, however, whether the new coronavirus behaves in a similar way.
“On copper and steel it’s pretty typical, it’s pretty much about two hours,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told U.S. lawmakers last week, referring to how long the new coronavirus may be active on those types of materials. “But I will say on other surfaces — cardboard or plastic — it’s longer, and so we are looking at this.”