Coronavirus Worldwide

According to Johns Hopkins, the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,012 people and infected more than 75,000 people, with over 1,000 cases outside mainland China. 

The statistics behind the data visualization are being collected from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, and Dingxiangyuan, a social networking site for health care professionals that provides real-time information on cases.

The online dashboard for tracking the worldwide spread of the coronavirus outbreak can be viewed here:

How Coronavirus Spreads

According to the CDC, coronaviruses are thought to spread most often by respiratory droplets, such as droplets in a cough or sneeze. Per the CDC’s website, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. Another factor is whether the spread continues over multiple generations of people (if spread is sustained). The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in Hubei province and other parts of China. In the United States, spread from person-to-person has occurred only among a few close contacts and has not spread any further to date.

COVID-19 is an emerging disease and there is more to learn about its transmissibility, severity, and other features and what will happen in the United States. New information will further inform the risk assessment.

Coronavirus on Surfaces

It is unknown exactly how long the novel coronavirus can linger on contaminated surfaces and objects with the potential of infecting people, but some researchers are finding clues by studying the elusive behaviors of other coronaviruses. Human coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, have been found to persist on inanimate surfaces — including metal, glass or plastic surfaces — for as long as nine days if that surface had not been disinfected, according to research published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection.

Cleaning with common household products can make a difference, according to the research, which also found that human coronaviruses “can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite” or bleach within one minute.

The new research involved analyzing 22 previously published studies on coronaviruses, which researchers hope can help provide insight into the novel coronavirus.
“Based on the current available data, I would primarily rely on the data from SARS coronavirus, which is the closest relative to the novel coronavirus — with 80% sequence similarity — among the coronaviruses tested. For SARS coronavirus, the range of persistence on surfaces was less than five minutes to nine days,” said Dr. Charles Chiu, an infectious disease professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the USCF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center, who was not involved in the new study.

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