Given that we pick and use our phones often hundreds of times a day, it’s pretty explicable to worry that one might have unwittingly smeared a COVID-19 virus or two while using their handset, and then touch their face to start an infection.
Enter ZAGG’s InvisibleShield brand whose Kastus-treated tempered glass screen protectors offer antimicrobial and, it turns out, antiviral protection for your phone, too.
Does your phone’s surface really present a coronavirus threat?
It, however, depends on whether you have contact with people that carry the COVID-19 strain and common surfaces they may have touched with unwashed hands or sneezed on. You can then pick up the germ unwittingly, and smear it all over your handset with usage.
How long it stays there depends on the case material, too, as per the new “Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1” research (PDF) posted in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Here’s how long can the coronavirus last on your phone display surface, frame, or stay on your case (at 68 degrees):
2-3 days on glass, metal and ceramics
Up to 5 days on plastics
Up to 4 days on wood
Less than 8 hours on latex
2-8 hours on aluminum
13 hours on steel is the median half-life estimate for HCoV-19
16 hours on polypropylene
As you can see, detectable traces of the HCoV-19 coronavirus strain can stay on phone’s surfaces for days, so word to the wise – clean, sanitize, disinfect your handset as often as you can if you have contact with coronavirus carriers or areas where it is present.
The good news is that the concentration of viruses that can be transmitted via surface contact is very low, according to the latest research, and it not at all a common way to get infected, like having many people talk, sing or breathe heavily indoors for a long time next to each other.