Q: Do we need to wipe the groceries again? Thanks for this great question from Kat in LA and Katey in the UK.
A: No need to return to grocery wiping, but wipe down your phone regularly and keep those hands clean.
A new study released last week from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia examined the effect of temperature on the survival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on common surfaces including money, stainless steel, glass, vinyl, and cotton fabric. The surfaces were kept in the dark at a controlled humidity at three different temperatures and examined for the presence of live virus for up to 28 days. The dose of virus used in this study was higher than in a previously published study. This study found active SARS-CoV-2 virus at day 28 on all tested surfaces with the exception of cotton fabric at 20o C or 68o F (room temperature).
Survival of virus was reduced to 3-7 days at 30o C and under 48 hours at 40o C (104o F).
How this applies to the real world:
There is evidence that SARS-CoV-2 lives for some time on surfaces, though surface transmission remains unlikely. Virus present on surfaces virus must be concentrated and make contact with your mucous membranes to infect you.
Virus on a surface needs a way into your body. The most likely route is your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and sanitize when you are not near water. Do not touch your face!
Commonly touched surfaces that come in close contact to your face, like your PHONE should be wiped down with antibacterial products regularly.
SARS-CoV-2 is still most likely to spread via droplets in the air. Maintain focus on maintaining distance, wearing masks, good ventilation, restricted networks, and short interactions.
For more information on this study and fomite transmission, here are a few resources.