Virus found on surfaces more than two weeks

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report just revealed some insightful and slightly scary facts about the coronavirus. The report shows that the coronavirus was found on surfaces for more than two weeks.

This information should be shared to anybody who plans on traveling even after the outbreak is largely subsided because it underscores the need to sanitize your surroundings regardless of what your hotel, cruise line, or airline tells you that they are doing.

The CDC examined cabins in the Diamond Princess cruise ship and they found traces of the virus on surfaces in the cabin in both symptomatic and asymptomatic passengers 17 days after the passengers had left the cabins. 

That is insane to think about.

Now, it is worth pointing out that the cabins had not been disinfected yet.

SARS-CoV-2 RNA 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 

So it is totally possible that after adequate sanitization methods were employed, that the traces of the virus would have been killed.

However, it is definitely good to know that the virus can live for over two weeks on surfaces.

As many frequent travelers are aware of, cleaning crews do not always clean the way that they should and sometimes they just leave surfaces completely untouched.

I have seen it happen multiple times where there is or was an obvious lapse in effort to clean a desk or a piece of furniture. 

Another thing to point out is that this report does not state whether or not transmission occurred from the surfaces.

Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted.

In other words, we don’t know for sure if someone could have been infected with the virus 16 days after it was already sitting on a surface.

Whether or not that is a possibility is beyond any of my expertise and so we will have to wait until the CDC or other health officials look into that.

I personally will probably avoid cruises for quite a while. First, I think that they transmit diseases more efficiently than other forms of transportation like planes. Consider that between the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess, there were more than 800 COVID-19 cases.

According to the CDC report, “Factors that facilitate spread on cruise ships might include mingling of travelers from multiple geographic regions and the closed nature of a cruise ship environment.”

But more importantly, when diseases do takeoff in cruise ships the logistics become an absolute nightmare when it comes to unloading passengers. And I would just rather not deal with any of that.

But regardless of your travel preferences, this just highlights the need to sanitize your surroundings in your cabin or hotel room or wherever you will be because these viruses could be lingering for very long periods of time.


UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. It goes back to one of your previous articles about disinfecting airplanes. Assume they’re filthy and clean your seating area including your hotel room.

    I’ve been quarantining my clothing and packages, etc for one week but now I’m going to do that for 2 weeks to be safe.


    1. Yep, it’s crazy. Are used to be kind of anti-Germaphobe but a lot of the research I’ve been doing the past few weeks has me rethinking a lot of my old practices. Definitely going to take more time to be a little more cautious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *