Study: Coronavirus Will Have Hard Time Surviving on Surfaces in Summer

Researchers at the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona have found that the ability of the coronavirus to survive on surfaces declines the higher the surrounding temperature. Therefore, they believe that the virus will have difficulty surviving on surfaces in the conditions of the Israeli summer, and that there is no need for widespread disinfecting of public spaces. It is sufficient to maintain personal hygiene and the cleanliness of frequently used objects and surfaces, such as elevator buttons and door handles, say the researchers.

They also found that there is little risk of being infected through the air by virus particles found on a lower surface, and that there is no danger that they will spread through air conditioning systems. The findings of the study have been sent for the consideration of the national security headquarters, the Health Ministry, its Epidemiological Department and the Home Front Command.

A man cleans a table at a Jerusalem school the day before some grades are allowed to resume, May 2, 2020Emil Salman

The coronavirus is spread through droplets. This happens when a spray of tiny drops from mucus, phlegm or saliva that contain the virus penetrate the respiratory system of the person infected. However, important issues regarding the virus and its durability are still unclear: for example, how long it survives outside the body on surfaces, how environmental conditions affect it, and the minimal amount of virus that causes contagion. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), touching infected surfaces is not the primary means of transfer of the coronavirus, but it is recommended to disinfect objects that are touched frequently by many people.

In the Biological Institute study, the researchers tested the survivability of the virus on surfaces at various temperatures, a major issue in the return to the work routine and staying in shared spaces. The researchers wanted to understand the extent to which the presence of the virus on surfaces in public spaces constitutes a potential source of contagion.