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COVID-19 Update: New CDC Report Highlights Longevity of Coronavirus on Surfaces

March 25, 2020

CDC Report: Traces of Coronavirus Remain 17 Days After Passengers Left Cruise Ship

If anyone managing a facility or school that is currently closed is wondering whether the coronavirus will simply die off while the building is empty, negating the need for a deep cleaning, a new report released from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday can answer that question in one word—no.

Researchers identified traces of the novel coronavirus on surfaces of the cabins on the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers had left the cabins. The Diamond Princess and its 3,700 passengers and crew were quarantined at a Japanese port in early February after a previous passenger was diagnosed with COVID-19 after he returned to Hong Kong. The ship quickly became what was at the time the largest cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of China with more than 800 passengers and crew eventually becoming infected.

CDC scientists said the coronavirus was found in the cabins of passengers who contracted COVID-19, along with the cabins of those who never became sick. It is important to note the virus was found before the ship was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

The CDC study found that Diamond Princess passengers transmitted the disease prior to quarantine and crew infections peaked after the quarantine’s implementation. As the data doesn’t show if transmission occurred from surfaces, the CDC report recommends exploring that further.

The CDC report underscores the importance of following a strict cleaning and disinfection protocol for efficient infection control. Clean surfaces thoroughly before applying a disinfectant. Be sure to follow disinfectant product directions exactly, especially the recommended dwell time, to assure long-living pathogens are eliminated from surfaces. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved various products as effective against the novel coronavirus and the Global BioRisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a division of ISSA, released a tip sheet with disinfection best practices.

16 States Shelter-in-Place

Meanwhile more facilities will be temporarily empty as at least nine other states—including Virginia, Michigan, Hawaii, and Oregon—joined the shelter-in-home order for a total of 16 states, CNN reports. About 100 million Americans—more than 40% of the population—are covered by stay-at-home orders issued by state governors.

March 24 Deadliest Day Yet

On Tuesday, the United States saw its deadliest day so far during the pandemic with at least 163 deaths due to coronavirus. As of Tuesday evening, more than 700 people in the U.S. had died of COVID-19 as the country’s cases surged to more than 52,000.

Keep up with the latest news on how COVID-19 is affecting the cleaning industry.

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