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How long can coronavirus live on surfaces?

The answer can vary depending on the type of surface.

KVUE is dedicated to getting you the answers to your coronavirus questions.

One big question we've received from viewers: How long can coronavirus live on surfaces?

Thanks to researchers from the National Institutes of Health, the CDC and Princeton University, we can answer that question – but the answer varies depending on the type of surface.


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If you walk by someone infected with COVID-19, the virus isn't going to be suspended in the air from their breath. But if that person coughs or sneezes, the virus is shot up into the air in droplets. In that form, it can last up to three hours – even after it falls to the ground.

On plastic and steel surfaces, the virus can live for three days. On copper, it can live for four hours. And on cardboard, COVID-19 can live for up to one day.

Do you have questions related to COVID-19? Text KVUE at (512) 459-9442. Be sure to text – calling that number won't work.

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