Trip to the playground a bad idea during coronavirus outbreak

Health

Expert at UAB says COVID-19 can live on playground equipment

Trying to kill some time, get the kids outdoors, and get them some exercise while home from day care or school? The local playground may not be a good option.

What’s the harm if the children are following the appropriate social distancing?

“Kids are constantly moving from one part of the playground to another and are quite prone to touching their faces — nose, eyes, etc. at intervals,” explained Samiksha Raut, Ph.D., biologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Therefore, if they happen to touch an object with the novel coronavirus, the chances of getting infected are very high.

COVID-19 is known to live on surfaces from a few hours to days. According to a new study from the New England Journal of Medicine, here is how long COVID-19 can stick around on surfaces:

On plastic: After eight hours, only 10 percent of the virus was still there, but it did not become undetectable until after 72 hours.

On stainless steel: The numbers began plummeting after just four hours, becoming undetectable after about 48 hours.

On copper: Undetectable after eight hours.

On cardboard: Undetectable after 48 hours.

Raut says it is important for parents to keep their kids at home and away from playgrounds and shared toys and sports equipment during this time.

“Despite the emerging evidence that children continue to show mild symptoms of COVID-19, they can still function as active carriers of the virus,” Raut said. “Above all, given their ages they do not understand the importance of social distancing and, hence, should be actively supervised by parents and/or caretakers.”

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