Take this (take that!) from someone interested in etiology... who then goes on to "proclaim":
"...they _may_ no longer be able to grow inside cells, _even if_..."
As useless as maybe hands-down almost literally everything ev-aar-ruh said like literally possibly maybe before since and may be after even if (say it with me!) "they may".
> SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted
But can anyone confirm if that means the actual virus was found, or would something inactive like random skin cells also get identified this way?
Edit: I asked the question, because the original title implied the actual virus was found.
I quarantined purchases for 5 days before bringing them in the apartment.
If it's 17 days or more it's all been in vain.
It also means it's much harder to stop.
Virtually no one I know in Italy is taking precautions on the stuff they bring home from the supermarket.
My personal nightmare: a nation in lockdown getting infected by the stuff they buy.
> Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted.
This might make you feel more at ease.
I'd even go further, that's not the entire story. Finding particles on a surface doesn't mean you are in present danger.
If you're standing on the savannah and you spot a troop of resting lions half a mile down with binoculars, it doesn't mean they are going to jump you the next second.
What I'm saying is that if days old, dried particles are found in a scrub from a ceiling board, that's still a vast difference from finding those same particles on a door knob. Where you find particles and the type of surface (cardboard vs. stainless steel) matter as well.
Which is why the simplest, most ubiqutious advice is still the most effective:
Don't touch your face. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. Wipe down surfaces you actually touch regularly like door knobs, counter tops, keyboards and so on. Sneeze / cough in your elbow instead of your hand. Use disposable tissues. Apply rigorous physical distancing to avoid aerosols from others. Air your living spaces daily. If you're sick yourself, self-isolate. Wipe down groceries or packages if that makes you feel more at ease.
Per how the World Health Organization is informing:
Vox also made some excellent videos on these topics and give more background information:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LKVUarhtvE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9d86ocFlxE
The real issue is that micro-organisms are too small to see. And if you can't see something dangerous but are told over and over again "it's everywhere", well, that's bound to cause an existential scare.
It helps to know that we understand that basic sanitary measures are already very effective in their own right.
We also have to understand that the statement "particles of virus have been detected after 17 days in a cabin" also applies to any virus or micro organism. You could be staying in a hotel room with old spittle particles stuck behind a cupboard and never be the wiser.
> If it's 17 days or more it's all been in vain.
> It also means it's much harder to stop.
IMO, if you want to quarantine stuff and don't want to wipe it down with bleach/hydrogen peroxide, I'd leave it outside (in direct sunlight). Strong UV exposure is pretty deadly to viruses.
It's also possible to get UV lights designed for the task (typically for purifying water), but you'll never find one with the intensity of the Sun.
The potential issue is thus only the outter packaging. If you take precautions, immediately discard the box and wash your hand you should be fine.
Packers and deliverymen should also wear gloves, etc. these days.
You're probably taking the biggest risk when accepting the package in person. Here in Germany, you can allow delivery services to drop off the package on a specified location to avoid contact with the delivery man. No need to sign anything anymore. Pretty sure there are similar options around the world.
Those same delivery men the news has been reporting on working while sick ?
How confident are you they're not coughing and sneezing into those gloved hands?
Ultimately you can find scenarios to show how any precaution is useless if you want to...
It is not yet confirmed that this has been a vector for further transmission.
During the vessel's quarantine in Japan, all passengers were quarantined on land, but some crew were quarantined on the ship.
This quote appears roughly halfway down the page:
"SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted (Takuya Yamagishi, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, personal communication, 2020). Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted."
And this quote earlier in the page refers to the quarantine in Japan:
"After disembarkation of all passengers, crew members either completed a 14-day ship-based quarantine, were repatriated to and managed in their home country, or completed a 14-day land-based quarantine in Japan."
 - https://www.niid.go.jp/niid/en/
There is no confirmation the virus itself lives on surfaces for long periods. Just RNA