As coronavirus rampages throughout the globe, a lot of people have questions about how it’s transmitted. Among them: Can you get coronavirus from money?
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection says it’s possible to get coronavirus from touching an object, but it’s not the main way it spreads.
To be sure, there’s a lot that’s not known about coronavirus. It’s a relatively new virus on the world stage, and it originated in notoriously secretive China. A recent study found that “viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on 36 cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel…Our results indicate that 40 aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for 41 multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”
Here’s what you need to know:
It’s Suggested That People Wash Their Hands After Handling Money
According to CNBC, banks in China are using “ultraviolet or heat treatments” to disinfect cash. A spokesperson for the World Health Organization told the news organization that “it has not issued any warnings or statements about the use of cash.”
However, WHO does suggest that people wash their hands after handling money, “especially if you’re eating or touching food,” CNBC reports.
Michael Knight, assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told CNBC that coronavirus “only leads to infection when it is transferred from your hand to places like your mouth, nose or eyes.”
Telegraph reported that, according to the Bank of England, banknotes “can carry bacteria or viruses,” which is why people should wash their hands regularly. Telegraph quoted an unnamed WHO spokesperson as saying about the potential of people getting coronavirus from money, “Yes it’s possible and it’s a good question. We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses and things like that. We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face. When possible it’s a good idea to use contactless payments.”
Coronavirus Mainly Spreads Through Respiratory Droplets But Can Be Spread By Touching a Surface or Object
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire page devoted to how coronavirus spreads. The CDC says:
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The CDC does add: “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.”
According to CDC, “CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named ‘SARS-CoV-2’ and the disease it causes has been named ‘coronavirus disease 2019’ (abbreviated ‘COVID-19’).”
CDC concludes, “While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.”
READ NEXT: Can Pets Get Coronavirus?