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Estimated Airborne Decay of SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19)

Estimated Airborne Decay of SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19)

under a range of temperatures, relative humidity, and UV index

Use the sliders to select the UV index, temperature and relative humidity of interest. Information on how long SARS-CoV-2 would be expected to remain stable in aerosols (airborne) will be displayed in the table below. Users can find the environmental conditions for a specific location by accessing general weather resources online.

SARS-CoV-2 Airborne Decay Calculator


0


10



50


86


°F / 23.9 °C

20


70


%

COVID Stability:

% Virus Decay Minutes Hours
50% (half-life): 11.32 0.47
90%: 150.39 6.27
99%: 225.59 9.40

 

Background

  • Minimizing person-to-person spread of SARS-CoV-2 is one of the main ways to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
  • Transmission is believed to occur through respiratory droplets produced by talking, coughing and sneezing. Contact with contaminated surfaces and objects may also contribute to spread.
  • Increased temperature and relative humidity cause a minimal increase in SARS-CoV-2 decay, but the addition of simulated sunlight causes rapid decay of the virus in aerosol.
  • These data have been used to develop a predictive model to estimate virus decay in aerosols under a limited range of environmental conditions.
  • The data that supports the decay of SARS-CoV-2 with simulated sunlight (UV) is published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and can be found here.
  • The data that supports the impact of temperature, humidity and simulated sunlight (UV) on the decay of SARS-CoV-2 is published in the Aerosol Science and Technology Journal and can be found here.

Model Caveats

Graphic showing UV index and Relative Humidity rapid decay per minute model

  • It should be noted that in order to fully assess the hazard posed by aerosols containing SARS-CoV-2, additional information is needed, including how much infectious virus is shed by infected individuals into the air, and the amount of virus that needs to be inhaled to cause infection.
  • The tool is valid for the following ranges of conditions: 50-86°F, 20-70% relative humidity, and UV indices of 0-10.

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