March 24, 2020

How long does the coronavirus survive and can I catch or spread it from a surface?

By now, you’ve heard it over and over again: the best way to keep ourselves, and others, safe and healthy is to stay home, self-isolate or self-quarantine (where recommended). Whether we have myeloma, are autoimmune compromised or not, we all need to take this pandemic very seriously.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is new strain of virus that is still being investigated to best understand the way it acts, transmits and can be fought. So, it’s imperative that we take every possible precaution to keep it as far away from us as possible. Having said that, we still have to bring groceries or supplies into our homes, whether we’re going out to get them or ordering online and having them delivered. The question of how long this disease is potentially infectious on surfaces has been coming up on a regular basis.

On average, the coronavirus COVID-19 can last a few hours or so, depending on the type of material. Research is still being conducted on this type of transfer contagion, but the latest information we found is below:

  • Cardboard (and copper): 4 to 8 hours

  • Plastic and stainless steel: as long as 72 hours

  • The virus cannot survive long-distance travel in adverse conditions in a plane or in a cross-country truck.

  • It can survive from a local delivery source.

The major concern is about who is delivering the package when it comes to online deliveries. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have packages delivered and placed by the door or entryway.

  • If possible, do NOT have contact with the person delivering the package. An electronic receipt is fine. But, do not touch computer or iPad screens directly. This is a key aspect of social distancing.

  • Wipe down the packages with disinfectant wipes before you bring them into the house. If available, wear gloves. Minimize contact with your outer garments which can be placed separately by the door.

  • Open the package and immediately discard outer materials along with gloves.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before proceeding.

The good news is that coronaviruses are what we call enveloped viruses. What this means is that they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill. Therefore, it’s important to:

  • use the right disinfectant product (see the Health Canada approved disinfectants)

  • follow the directions on the label (see the Health Canada approved hand sanitizers)

The government of Ontario created a concise and easy fact sheet called “Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings” that also features some great take-aways for us at home.


*Source: IMF,