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Touch This and You May Get COVID, Warns Study

Think twice before touching these.

COVID-19 is thought to be spread through human contact and via droplets and aerosols. However, you can also get the virus by touching surfaces. A study published in Virology Journal looked at how long COVID-19 can stay on different surfaces, how infectious it could be, and why this is possible. The study tested the most common types of surfaces that people come in contact with, and are often found in public areas. Here are some of the surfaces that you could get COVID from by touching them, namechecked in the study. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus



cash transaction

Bank notes and money are potentially the most dangerous surface they studies. The study showed that paper had the longest amount of time the COVID virus was detected on the surface, lasting up to 28 days at 20 degrees Celsius, and 21 days at 30 degrees Celsius. Paper money is also frequently circulated in society, going from one hand to the next. It is also not cleaned, before you hand it to someone else. Researchers note that prior to the coronavirus outbreak, China had stopped decontaminating paper-based currency.


Public Transport Windows

Woman wearing surgical protective mask pushing the button in a public transportation.


Public transportation is already a likely place someone could catch COVID. However, the glass windows in public transportation could be one of the riskier aspects of the system. Glass windows and surfaces are less likely to be regularly cleaned than other public surfaces, so they are more likely to transmit the virus. Glass, like steel, can also get very humid, with people breathing on it, and it fogging up. The study showed that glass can stabilize the virus at different temperatures, making it a dangerous surface.

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Cell Phone Screens

woman in a protective face mask with a smart phone at the public place

Cell phones, specifically the vinyl cell phone protectors, are likely to contain harmful pathogens, including COVID. We have to touch our phones to use them, and we also rarely clean them. They are often dropped on the ground or floors, which are also rarely cleaned. Lastly, not everyone washes their hands right after using their phones, which is the main way medical professionals recommend to prevent COVID. 


ATMs & Self-Serve Checkout Machines

Low angle view of African American businesswoman inserting credit card and withdrawing cash at ATM while wearing protective mask on her face.

ATMs are similar to both cell phones and public transportation windows. ATMs are public surfaces that are both highly touched, and rarely cleaned. Other devices with touchscreens, like kiosks, could potentially give you COVID as well. ATMs have steel and metal buttons, which has been shown to be a surface that has played a role in spreading viruses. Steel also has a tendency to heat up, which causes the virus to stabilize. 


Hospital Waiting Rooms

Nurse wearing face mask against coronavirus taking notes on clipboard while talking with disabled senior woman in wheelchair

Hospital waiting rooms are surrounded by highly touched areas, like windows and vinyl seats. While one might think hospitals are safe, since they are cleaned heavily, hospitals are treating COVID patients, which puts people at risk. Hospital waiting rooms are also traditionally kept cold. This study found that the virus was able to last for a long time in the colder temperatures on glass, vinyl, paper, and steel. All of these surfaces are prevalent in hospital rooms.

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get


Household Fabrics

Large bed with pillows and blankets

You might be able to contract COVID in your home, contrary to popular belief. Several household fabrics, like clothing, bedding, and anything with cotton, could be hotspots for the COVID virus. Luckily, the study showed that cotton had the shortest amount of time the virus spent on it, likely due to cotton being able to completely dry off. The amount of time COVID stays on cotton and household fabrics likely has to do with how thick the fabric is, and how much cotton is used in the fabric.  


Kitchen Areas

black woman cooking salad

The majority of kitchens and kitchen devices are made of stainless steel. Kitchens also get very hot, which causes viruses on steel to stabilize. Kitchens are also only cleaned once a week, not regularly. To further protect yourself, and get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Anna Bechtel
Anna Bechtel is a freelance writer currently based in Hamden, CT. Read more about Anna