Coronavirus can survive on your mobile phone for 4 weeks

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
·2-min read
Photo credit: Tim Robberts - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Robberts - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

There's lots we don't know about coronavirus, but the longer the pandemic goes on, the more scientists are learning about it. One such study recently looked into just how long the virus can survive on surfaces, and the results were quite alarming.

According to research carried out by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, it looks like coronavirus can survive for up to four weeks - almost an entire month - on mobile phone screens and banknotes. Time to invest in another pack of antibac wipes, it seems.

The experts involved in the study placed the virus particles inside an artificial mucus (mirroring human mucus) and dried it on to different surfaces in order to test how long it remained infectious. What it found was that at 20 degrees Celsius (which is about room temperature) the virus was "extremely robust", and survived for 28 days on "smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes." More porous surfaces, such as cotton, were not found to enable the virus to thrive for as long.

In comparison, similar experiments on a flu virus showed it could survive on surfaces for 17 days, indicating that the COVID-19 virus is more resilient than other known viruses. It's worth noting that this study took place in the dark, after research suggested that direct sunlight has the capability of quickly killing the virus.

Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Westend61 - Getty Images

Alongside social distancing and wearing masks, one of the key things we have been doing to protect ourselves and others from the risks of coronavirus is to wash our hands regularly - and this research certainly supports that.

"Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on surfaces for long periods of time, reinforcing the need for good practices such as regular handwashing and cleaning surfaces," said Dr Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness.

This research is a worthwhile reminder that, whenever you're handling your mobile phone, you don't know what's lurking there microscopically. So keep washing those hands, and perhaps even start cleaning your phone screen too, every now and then.

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cosmopolitan UK's November issue is out now and you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


You Might Also Like