(NEW YORK POST) – Coronavirus stays on surfaces far longer than first thought — with traces found in cabins on the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after they were abandoned, according to alarming new research.
The potentially deadly bug was previously understood to live two to three days on some surfaces — but the new report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) it lasts more than five times as long.
The coronavirus “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
However, the report stressed that the research “cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces” and the traces were active enough to get anyone sick.
The alarming discovery came in a study of the bug’s terrifying spread in cruise ships, with the CDC calling for further study of the ships.
“During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Diamond Princess was the setting of the largest outbreak outside mainland China,” the CDC report noted.
More than 700 of the ship’s 3,700 passengers and crew later tested positive for the coronavirus, the study says.
Along with its sister ship, the Grand Princess — also owned by Carnival Corporation — there were a total of 10 deaths, the report says.
Passengers returning from cruises have also been linked to cases “in at least 15 states,” with reports of “secondary community-acquired cases linked to returned passengers on cruises,” according to the study.
“Cruise ships are often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases because of their closed environment, contact between travelers from many countries, and crew transfers between ships,” the report warned.