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Can the coronavirus survive on money?

This Sept. 6, 2017, file photo, shows currency from a tip jar in New York. Photo: AP/ Mark Lennihan. This Sept. 6, 2017, file photo, shows currency from a tip jar in New York.

Associated Press
Created: May 12, 2020 04:51 PM

Can the coronavirus survive on paper currency?

Yes, but experts say the risk of getting the virus from cash is low compared with person-to-person spread, which is the main way people get infected.

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Still, many businesses worldwide have banned cash transactions and governments are taking extra precautions.

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When it's an option, use touch-free payment methods, such as purchasing goods over the phone or online, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you must use cash or a debit card, the agency recommends using hand sanitizer immediately after paying.

A study in March found the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, but it did not test how long it survives on paper money. And using a plastic credit or debt card instead doesn't eliminate risk either. The study found the virus can live on plastic for up to three days, though the work doesn't prove that anyone has been infected by touching contaminated surfaces.


(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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