A local biologist said the key to staying safe is not to let your guard down and keep up all the mitigation efforts.By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new study found that the coronavirus can stay on hard surfaces for almost a month and on fabric for more than a week.

Scientists in Australia found that coronavirus can remain on glass, plastic and other hard surfaces for 28 days. University of Pittsburgh biology professor Dr. Seema Lakdawala researches viruses and read the study.

“We know that non-porous material — such as plastic, glass, steel — the virus will remain infectious for a longer period of time,” said Dr. Lakdawala.

But Dr. Lakdawala says it still takes several conditions for a person to contract coronavirus from a surface.

“You have to touch the same spot where the virus is located, there has to be enough virus there. … You have to touch your nose or eye or some other mucus membrane for the virus to initiate an infection,” said Dr. Lakdawala.

That’s why Dr. Lakdawala says it’s still important to wipe down common-touch surfaces like your phone, door handles and light switches and to wash your hands.

The new study found that coronavirus can stay on porous surfaces — like a cotton mask, clothes or paper — for 11 days but a simple washing will get rid of it.

“That’s what I do with our masks. I wash them every night, just in a bucket of hot water and some soap, let them soak a little bit and wash them. That’s sufficient to kill the virus,” the doctor said.

But coronavirus is still most often transmitted person to person and through the air. Dr. Lakdawala says it’s just as important to keep wearing masks, social distancing and improving air ventilation.

“There is no one thing you can do,” said Dr. Lakdawala.

She says the key is not to let your guard down and keep up all the mitigation efforts to stay safe.

Kristine Sorensen