Whether you’re spending it, saving it, or wanting more of it, money plays a huge role in our day-to-day lives. While some prefer to pay with plastic everywhere they go, cash transactions still remain popular and necessary for some shops to stay in business.
In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems that nothing is safe. Health officials have told us the virus can live on surfaces, travel through the air and be spread from person to person. But what about currency? If an infected person pays for something with cash and you eventually receive the same cash as change -- would the virus still be there?
How long SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, survives is dependent on the surface as well as environmental conditions.
A study by the Journal of Hospital Infection found that other strains of coronavirus have the potential to remain on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for two hours to nine days. According to the World Health Organization, the virus is unable to survive for long periods of time on packages or letters.
Health experts believe the virus can remain on a dollar bill for two to three days at most.
According to a study from the State of New Jersey, COVID-19 may persist on money for a longer period of time compared to cardboard and paper products. This is because currency in the United States is made of 25% linen and 75% cotton, not paper.
Researchers are unsure of the correct length of time that COVID-19 could stay on currency, current research shows dollar bills may be a potential vector of transmissible diseases, such as bacteria and viruses; however, no research has been done on the COVID-19 virus specifically.
Since there is no definitive answer, the World Health Organization recommends thoroughly washing hands after handling money.
Health officials also suggest moving toward cashless payment methods whenever possible.