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Should I disinfect my smartphone to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Last Updated Jun 5, 2020 at 11:19 am PDT

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says you should disinfect your smartphone once a day. (Kelvin Gawley, NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

Wash your phone daily, but be careful not to damage it: BCCDC

COVID-19 transmission more likely from person-to-person than from surfaces

NEWS 1130 is working hard to get you the information you need about the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you have questions, NEWS 1130 Gets Answers.

Question:

Should I disinfect my smartphone to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Answer:

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says you should clean your phone and other frequently touched electronics “at least daily,” using a wipe or spray with 70 per cent alcohol or more.

“Before cleaning or disinfecting your electronics, read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure there are no warnings or products that should not be used,” the BCCDC says on its website, adding you should dry your phone immediately after cleaning it.

You should never fully submerge your electronics in liquid, the agency says.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the coronavirus can survive on stainless steel and plastic for up to 72 hours.

But Carolyn Machamer, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor who has long studied coronaviruses, said some headlines about the study have been misleading.

“What’s getting a lot of press and is presented out of context is that the virus can last on plastic for 72 hours – which sounds really scary. But what’s more important is the amount of the virus that remains. It’s less than 0.1% of the starting virus material,” she said in a blog post, adding that small amount makes the risk of infection “theoretically possible but unlikely.”

Cleaning surfaces is a “very effective” way to kill the novel coronavirus, she said, noting the risk of contracting COVID-19 is much more likely to happen via airborne droplets.

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