The infectious disease “COVID-19” (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is caused by the virus strain “SARS-CoV-2” (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), colloquially known nowadays as the “coronavirus”.
Prior to a new pathogen being officially named, the term “novel coronavirus” (nCoV) is a provisional name given to coronaviruses of medical significance. This is why you may have previously heard of COVID-19 as “2019-nCoV” (2019 novel coronavirus) in the early stages of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, other species of formerly novel coronavirus that you may have heard of in recent decades include “MERS-CoV” (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Related Coronavirus) and “SARS-CoV” (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2).
Based on what is currently known about COVID-19, spread from person-to-person of this virus happens most frequently between individuals within about 6 feet of one another, mostly by way of water-based particles either naturally generated (e.g., breathing, talking, singing, sneezing, coughing, or vomiting) or artificially generated (e.g., aerosol-generating procedures, such as those commonly occurring during agricultural, cleaning, or medical activities).
Typically, the spread of coronaviruses (a large family of viruses) occurs much more commonly through these aforementioned “respiratory droplets” than through interactions with inanimate objects, however current evidence suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus strain may remain capable of living for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.
Furthermore, it is presently unknown just how long the indoor air of a working or living space remains contaminated and potentially infectious after being occupied by someone confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19.
During this time, facilities need to take measures to improve the indoor air quality in any areas or rooms where someone was ill or suspected to be ill with COVID-19, considering such factors as ventilation system design, such as flowrates (air changes per hour) and locations of supply and exhaust vents, when deciding on how long to close off these spaces prior to disinfection.
For information regarding the present situation of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic and public advice on ways to protect yourself and others from the spread COVID-19, please visit the following:
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) [USA]:
IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) [Canada]:
NIH (National Institutes of Health) [USA]:
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) [USA]:
WHO (World Health Organization):
References and Useful Links: