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Stanford professor says smartphones don't spread COVID 19, virus can't survive 28-days on phone screen

According to Dean Winslow, a Stanford professor, the Australian study that says coronavirus spreads through cell phone surfaces portrays the worst-case scenario.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | October 16, 2020 | Updated 19:59 IST

Highlights

  • A Stanford professor has said that people should not worry much about coronavirus spreading through cell phones.
  • He noted that the study carried out by Australian researchers used concentrated amounts of virus in the absence of UV light.
  • The professor noted that the risk of coronavirus spreading through indoor events is much greater than spreading through cell phones.

A Stanford professor has given clarity on an Australian study that suggests that coronavirus can survive on common surfaces, including glass layers on smartphone screens for up to 28 days. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center said the Australian study portrays what he calls a worst-case scenario.

"I think people shouldn't worry too much about this," Winslow told Mic. "I don't think they need to worry about decontaminating their own personal cell phone." Winslow asserts the virus spreading more through indoor interactions than spreading through cell phones.

Such a situation might occur indoors, in the absence of UV light. when people are not taking enough precautions. This might occur in enclosed spaces, poor ventilation, and prolonged exposure to respiratory particles.

"All experiments were carried out in the dark, to negate any effects of UV light. Inoculated surfaces were incubated at 20 degrees Celsius, 30 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius and sampled at various time points," the scientists carrying out the study had noted.

Winslow does not completely disregard the study, saying it is an important paper. However, he says the situation under which the study was carried out was artificially created. According to Winslow, the researchers added a high concentration of virus onto each surface for the study "and it might be kind of artificially high compared to what sorts of virus loads you'd actually find on inanimate objects."

Winslow further explained that the researchers extrapolated the concentration from the amount of virus a swab would collect directly from an infected person's nose or throat. A more real-life situation would be when a person with an ill-fitted mask sneezes directly on the phone as compared to the concentration directly from a swab of the infected person.

Winslow says that most super spreader events have been in crowded indoor environments and presses on avoiding indoor interactions as much as possible

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