How is the virus transmitted?
While the Coronavirus can be deadly once it has infected a person, it is not particularly hearty when in the environment. Furthermore, simply being near a surface that has been contaminated with the virus produces almost no risk of infection. Infection could only occur if a person touches a contaminated surface, then touches one of their mucous membranes, like the inside of their nostrils, their eyes or their mouth.
How long will the virus last on certain surfaces?
Essentially all surfaces can be contaminated by secretions containing coronavirus particles. How long the virus lasts on various surfaces in an infectious state is not well known and varies based on the type of surface. The virus will last longer on surfaces such as plastic than on fabrics, papers and cardboard that absorb the moisture from the virus. The virus cannot survive high temperatures, so surfaces that get very warm, such as the interior of automobiles on hot days, are unlikely to contain viable virus.
What should I do when I return from the grocery store?
Items purchased from a store can become contaminated in the same way as any surface. Therefore, after handling any items recently purchased from a store, including groceries, we should wash or disinfect our hands and avoid touching our faces while handling them. Also, all produce should be washed before being eaten, though transmission of the virus has not been identified from handling groceries or eating produce. It is unknown if Coronavirus can survive refrigeration or freezing.
What should I use to disinfect?
Most detergents and disinfectants will kill the virus, including dilute bleach solutions, so surfaces that may become contaminated should be frequently cleaned with an appropriate disinfectant.
Most importantly, as it is impossible to completely avoid contact with surfaces or objects that may have been contaminated between disinfection, it is imperative to keep our hands clean and avoid touching our faces. This is a challenge because our hands touch lots of surfaces during our usual activities, and we tend to touch our faces every few minutes. But, if we can completely avoid touching our faces with contaminated hands, contaminated surfaces are a very unlikely way to contract the infection.