Studies have found that the coronavirus can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours.
But it is important to note that the amount of virus decreased rapidly over time on each of those surfaces. And so the risk of infection from touching them would probably decrease over time as well.
On surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic, the virus can survive for as long as nine days. Disinfectants with 62 to 71 percent ethanol, 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide or 0.1 percent sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can efficiently inactivate coronaviruses within a minute. Diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions containing at least 70 percent alcohol and most common household disinfectants should be effective at disinfecting surfaces against the virus. The bleach solution can be prepared by mixing 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water.
Researchers also compared the new coronavirus' life span on surfaces with that of the SARS coronavirus. In a 70-degree Fahrenheit room at 40 percent relative humidity, they found that both coronaviruses lived the longest on stainless steel and polypropylene, a type of plastic used in everything from food-storage containers to toys. Both viruses lasted up to three days on plastic, and the new coronavirus lasted up to three days on steel.
On cardboard, however, the new coronavirus lasted three times longer than SARS did: 24 hours, compared with eight hours.