Smartphones can transmit coronavirus

By Juliet Umeh

As the coronavirus threat looms large all over the world, disrupting daily lives and activities, experts have warned that there is a link between COVID-19 and smartphones — transmission.

Researchers have shown that a smartphone is one of the easiest means of transmitting the virus.

Unfortunately, while most people have been focusing on sanitising and washing their hands countless times a day, a lot of people have forgotten their smartphones.

A study conducted by a research firm, Dscout, found that in a group of 94 people, the average person touched their phone over 2,600 times per day. Also another report by Seattle Times said an average phone is covered in germs— 25,127 bacteria per square inch.

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At the same time, report by the Quartz cites experts on the subject who claim the virus can live on smartphone’s screen for up to 96 hours and thereby pose a risk to not just one’s health, but even spread on to any surface it touches in the duration of its existence on a smartphone’s screen.

While another study revealed that people touch their faces about 23 times per hour or 368 times during a day.

Still on the connection between COVID-19 and smartphones, an immunologist from the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre, Rudra Channappanavar, revealed that COVID-19 can live on the surfaces for multiple days.

He said: “Smartphone glasses, in particular, can host live coronaviruses for up to 96 hours or four days depending on the room temperature.”

A Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky, recently provided a few tips on keeping mobile devices virus-free.

The Senior Security Researcher for the team, Maher Yamout, said even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is frightening to think how much bacteria live on our personal mobile devices.

He said: “And with the coronavirus able to survive at room temperature and remain infectious on metal, glass, ceramic, and plastic for several days, it becomes essential to follow effective disinfection protocol.

“The virus can get onto a phone or tablet in two ways: either in tiny droplets when an infected person coughs nearby, or from your own hands after touching door handles, ATM buttons, and the like.

Tips to keep devices safe

Yamout said: “If you must go to the shop for essential goods, it is imperative to disinfect your phone with isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide when you return home.”

Isopropyl alcohol is considered the least harmful to the oleophobic coating that allows fingers to slide over the screen without covering it in fingerprints.

It is, however, important that users know that they should not pour the disinfectant into the connectors, speakers, and other openings in the smartphone, even if it is waterproof.

Rather, take a cotton pad, soak it in the liquid, and apply it to all sides of the device.


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