Infectious disease specialists warn that COVID-19 can survive on the soles of shoes for up to five days
Why you should leave your shoes OUTSIDE your home: Infectious disease specialists warn COVID-19 can survive on soles for up to five days – and reveal how to properly clean them
- Georgine Nanos is a family physician from San Diego, California
- She said that shoes are potential carriers of the coronavirus and should be kept outdoors
- The sole of a shoe is the most important breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and viruses
- Her claims are supported by infectious disease specialist Mary E. Schmidt
- Dr. Schmidt warns that COVID-19 can live on shoes and synthetics for five days
- Shoes that are worn in supermarkets and on public transport are likely to wear them
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Infectious disease specialists have warned that COVID-19 can live on the sole of shoes for up to five days, with footwear likely to carry coronavirus if worn in crowded areas such as supermarkets, airports or on public transport.
The sole of a shoe is the main breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and viruses, but airborne drops of breath carried by a person infected with coronavirus can still get anywhere on the top part of a shoe, such as the laces or the heel.
Soles are usually made of durable, synthetic materials such as rubber, PVC or leather covered with plastic, all of which contain a high level of bacteria because they are non-porous, meaning they do not allow air, liquid or moisture to pass through.
Australians are becoming increasingly aware of what is being brought into their homes as the country registered a peak of 190 cases at night in New South Wales alone, bringing the national infection rate to 2,675 and the death toll to 11.
Shoes are more likely to wear COVID-19 if worn in high-traffic areas such as supermarkets, airports, or on public transportation (photo, customers carry shopping bags at a supermarket in Sydney, Australia on March 4, 2020)
How long can Covid-19 survive on surfaces?
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours and on stainless steel and plastic for up to three days.
Studies have shown that the virus can persist for up to five days on synthetic materials used in shoes.
Frequently touched surfaces such as faucets, phone cases, door handles, computer keyboards and toilets should be cleaned with bleach or alcohol solutions containing at least 70 percent alcohol.
Georgine Nanos, a GP in San Diego, told Huffington Post Australia the likelihood of wearing shoes with COVID-19 increases when worn in densely populated areas, such as offices, shopping centers, trains, buses and airports.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 2,725
New South Wales: 1,219
Western Australia: 205
South Australia: 235
Australian Capital Territory: 53
Northern Territory: 8
TOTAL CASES: 2,725
Missouri health advisor, Dr. Mary E. Schmidt, agreed, saying that the coronavirus has “lived for five days or more” on synthetic surfaces through research into materials closely related to room temperature shoe fabrics.
These claims are supported by Kansas City public health specialist Carole Winner, who said shoes made from plastic and other synthetic materials can carry active viruses for days.
Ms. Winner said that shoes should be left in garages or directly at the front door.
“The idea is just not to follow them around the house,” she told HuffPost.
People who do not work and commute at home, such as health workers and store workers, are advised to use one pair of shoes when they are outdoors.
Shoes made of canvas, soft fabrics or artificial leather should be machine washed at a low temperature. Heavy duty leather shoes or work boots should be cleaned by hand with disinfectant wipes.
Shoes must be left outside or directly inside the front door to prevent the collection of germs and bacteria in trains or buses throughout the house (pictured, a woman wearing a face mask gets on the Moscow metro train on March 11, 2020)
WHY YOU SHOULD WASH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES WITH SOAP
University of Sydney Associate professor Timothy Newsome
University of Sydney Associate professor Timothy Newsome specializes in infection, vaccines and virology, and has closely monitored how coronavirus restrictions are increasing across Australia.
Mr. Newsome confirmed that “any surface is a hazard” when it comes to COVID-19, including fresh produce on supermarket shelves.
Mr. Newsome told Daily Mail Australia that while the virus can be found on most surfaces, people who do their weekly grocery shopping should be especially wary of the fruit and vegetables trade as customers constantly pick up and drop items.
While it would be “bad practice” to “test every avocado for coronavirus,” Newsome said people should treat everything they touch as potential sources of contamination.
The best course of action is to wash fruits and vegetables with soap as soon as you bring them home, rather than simply relying on the high heat of cooking to ‘kill’ the virus.
“Wash them with warm soapy water, just like you do your hands,” said Mr. Newsome.
After being worn in busy transit areas, such as airports or bus stations, shoes should be machine-washed at low temperature or hand-cleaned with disinfectant wipes (photo, a woman walks through Sydney International Airport on March 25, 2020)
Melbourne environmental scientist Nicole Bijlsma previously warned Daily Mail Australia of the dust and allergens shoes can carry around the house.
Nicole Bijlsma is a qualified construction biologist based in Melbourne
She said it is best to leave shoes outside or right inside the door rather than dragging them around the house.
But when it comes to making your home virus-resistant to COVID-19, Ms. Bijlsma said it’s important to draw the line between cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.
“The mystery is that bacteria are essential to humans – the more bacteria we are exposed to, the stronger the immune response will be,” she said Thursday.
“It is absolutely justified to disinfect everything in hospital environments and places where you have high-risk individuals, but for most households, clinical disinfection will reduce bacterial diversity, which is counterproductive.”
Washing hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and coughing and sneezing in the curvature of your elbow instead of your hand are the best defenses we have against the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Ms. Bijlsma said.