How long does COVID-19 pathogens stay active on a beard?

We know the virus persists on different surfaces like cardboard and plastic for varying amounts of time. But what about beards and facial hair?

“We get asked about it all the time,” says Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinary professor at the University of Guelph who researches emerging infectious diseases and infection control.

“No one knows for sure.”

What epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists do know is that the novel coronavirus can’t tolerate most environments, including beards.

Weese says the virus would likely last on beards for hours — not days.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19:

A guide to each province and territory Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners, echoes those sentiments.

“Once the virus is in the environment and out of its natural habitat in the respiratory tract, it doesn’t do so well,” Chakrabarti said, estimating it can remain active on a beard for several minutes.

“Theoretically, after a fresh cough or sneeze by someone with a beard, and then someone else happens to immediately kiss that person, there is the risk of transmission.”

That’s part of the reason why public health officials, and Health Canada continue to advise Canadians to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, stay home as much as possible, and practice physical distancing.

Source: CBC News

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