If you’re wondering whether or not you can catch the novel coronavirus from handling your cell phone, the answer depends on when or where you look.
Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center, said in a reddit AMA that the virus can survive “on some surfaces up to 3 days (less time on cardboard and copper, more time on plastics and steel),” implying that one could get infected that way.
On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control downplays that danger in its novel coronavirus FAQ, stating that “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.” They say the same thing in their page devoted to the virus’s transmission.
However, in the CDC’s list of precautions for households, intimate partners, and caregivers of someone with COVID-19, it recommends you “clean all ‘high-touch’ surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day.”
It also clarifies in various places that the virus is not transmitted through touch, but through the respiratory tract.
If you’ve decided that you want to take the precautions and clean your phone, Apple recommends using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, and it’s reasonable that the same applies to other cell phone brands. If you want to take further precautions, the PhoneSoap Smartphone UV Sanitizer uses UV light to kill bacteria “that other phone cleaners can’t kill.” It’s $79.95 right now, but back-ordered until May 8.
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Joshua Sargent is an editor for Hearst Newspapers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This content was originally published here.