What we know about COVID-19

COVID-19 is an “Envelope Virus”

o Lipid Virus – Virus surrounded by an envelope of lipoprotein in addition to the usual core of nucleic acid surrounded by a coat of protein. This type of virus (e.g., HIV) is generally easily inactivated by many types of disinfectants. Also called enveloped or lipophilic virus. (CDC, 2016)

o Nonlipid Virus – generally considered more resistant to inactivation than lipid viruses. Also called nonenveloped or hydrophilic viruses. (CDC, 2016)

o Viruses that have a lipid membrane. Many enveloped viruses, such as HBV, HCV, HIV and influenza viruses, are pathogenic to humans and of clinical importance. The lipid envelope of these viruses is relatively sensitive and thus can be destroyed by alcohols such as ethanol or 2-propanol. Enveloped viruses can be killed by disinfectants that are virucidal against enveloped viruses. (Bode Science Center, n.d.)

How long does it live?

o Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. (CDC, 2020, March 6)

o Overall, stability is very similar between HCoV-19 and SARS-CoV-1. We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. HCoV-19 and SARS-CoV-1 exhibited similar half-lives in aerosols, with median estimates around 2.7 hours. Both viruses show relatively long viability on stainless steel and polypropylene compared to copper or cardboard: the median half-life estimate for HCoV-19 is around 13 hours on steel and around 16 hours on polypropylene. Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days. (van Doremalen et al., 2020)

o HCoV-19 was most stable on plastic and stainless steel and viable virus could be detected up to 72 hours post application (Figure 1B), though by then the virus titer was greatly reduced (polypropylene from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50/mL after 72 hours, stainless steel from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50/mL after 48 hours, mean across three replicates). SARS-CoV-1 had similar stability kinetics and live virus could be detected on these surfaces up to 72 hours on polypropylene and 48 hours on stainless steel (polypropylene from 03.4 to 100.7 TCID50/mL after 72 hours, stainless steel from 103.6 to 100.6 TCID50/mL after 48 hours, mean across three replicates). No viable virus could be measured after 4 hours on copper for HCoV-19 and 8 hours for SARS-CoV-1, or after 24 hours on cardboard for HCoV-19 and 8 hours for SARS-CoV-1. (van Doremalen et al., 2020)

What inactivates or “kills” COVID-19?

o Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. (#6 OSHA, 2020, p.9)

o SARS-CoV-2 is an emerging viral pathogen and no product has been absolutely proven to inactivate and has a direct claim. Test methods have yet to be developed. However, in this case the CDC will recommend the use of US EPA registered disinfectants. The US EPA has guidance in place for emerging viral pathogens for to make product recommendations. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus. From a surface disinfection perspective enveloped viruses are easier to inactivate than large non-enveloped viruses and small non-enveloped viruses. If a surface disinfectant inactivates 1 or more nonenveloped viruses it qualifies to be listed as effective against the emerging pathogen, SARS-CoV-2. (EPA, 2016)

Contact time needed?

o Varies based on product being used.

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

o Close contacts, within 6 feet, via respiratory drops (CDC, 2020, March 6; Zaccarina & Rodriguez, 2020)

o Transmission from surfaces has not been documented (CDC, 2020, March 6)

o Much is unknown about how the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads. Current knowledge is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. (CDC, 2020, February 26)

o Dr. Martin S. Hirsch, senior physician in the Infectious Diseases Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, said there’s still a lot to learn but experts suspect the virus may act similarly to SARS-CoV from 13 years ago (Zaccarina & Rodriguez, 2020)

Hygiene helps!

o Wash hands for 20 seconds or use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer (CDC, 2020, March 6)

o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth (CDC, 2020, March 6) Terminology for sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize.


Removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. (CDC, 2018)


o Agent that reduces the number of bacterial contaminants to safe levels as judged by public health requirements. Commonly used with substances applied to inanimate objects. According to the protocol for the official sanitizer test, a sanitizer is a chemical that kills 99.999% of the specific test bacteria in 30 seconds under the conditions of the test. (CDC, 2016)

o a substance, or mixture of substances, that reduces the bacteria population in the inanimate environment by significant numbers, but does not destroy or eliminate all bacteria. (Code of Federal Regulations, 2018)


o Thermal or chemical destruction of pathogenic and other types of microorganisms. Disinfection is less lethal than sterilization because it destroys most recognized pathogenic microorganisms but not necessarily all microbial forms (e.g., bacterial spores). (CDC, 2016)

o a substance or mixture of substances, that destroys or irreversibly inactivates bacteria, fungi, and viruses, but not necessarily bacterial spores, in the inanimate environment. (Code of Federal Regulations, 2018)


Validated process used to render a product free of all forms of viable microorganisms. In a sterilization process, the presence of microorganisms on any individual item can be expressed in terms of probability. Although this probability can be reduced to a very low number, it can never be reduced to zero. (CDC, 2016)

Contact Time

Time a disinfectant is in direct contact with the surface or item to be disinfected. For surface disinfection, this period is framed by the application to the surface until complete drying has occurred. (CDC, 2016)

 For commercial products, this simply means that disinfectants provide a higher level of demonstrable microbial load reduction than sanitizers. Product performance guidelines are outlined by EPA in Product Performance Test Guidelines OCSPP 810.2300 (sanitization) and OCSPP 810.2200 (disinfection). These guidelines are summarized below, with minimum surface contact times indicated in parentheses.

Clean, then disinfect.

 Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure or prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings. (CDC, 2020, March 6)

 If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. (CDC, 2020, March 6)

 Do not mix cleaners and disinfectants unless the labels indicate it is safe to do so. Combining certain products (such as chlorine bleach and ammonia cleaners) can result in serious injury or death. (CDC, 2018)

 Because the transmissibility of COVID-19 from contaminated environmental surfaces and objects is not fully understood, employers should carefully evaluate whether or not work areas occupied by people suspected to have virus may have been contaminated and whether or not they need to be decontaminated in response.

(OSHA, 2020)

 Outside of healthcare and healthcare facilities, there is typically no need to perform special cleaning or decontamination of work environments when a person suspected of having the virus has been present, unless those environments are visibly contaminated with blood or other body fluids. In limited cases where further cleaning and decontamination may be necessary, consult U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for cleaning and disinfecting environments, including those contaminated with other coronavirus. (OSHA, 2020)

 Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. (CDC, 2020)

 As always it is recommended to clean first clean then sanitize or disinfect. Some disinfectants, such as Vital Oxide, have a one step-cleaning and disinfection claim. Products such as these can have a combined cleaning and disinfection step. It is still recommended to first remove any gross visible soil on fomites. General cleaning practices for surfaces, such as counters and high touchpoints.

 Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, and toys. Some schools may also require daily disinfecting these items. Standard procedures often call for disinfecting specific areas of the school, like bathrooms. (CDC, 2018)

Best practices for cleaning

 Pressure wash outside surfaces with hot water and high pressure before disinfection.

 For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. (CDC, 2020, March 6)

 Use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are suitable for porous surfaces. (CDC, 2020, March 6)

Best practices for cleaning and disinfecting equipment after use.

 Use HEPA filters for containment of any air exiting the system.

 According to the National Library of Medicine, the particle size of the COVID virus is 125nm or equivalent to 0.125 microns. Our HEPA products clean the air to 0.03 Microns at 99.97% (HEPA Guidelines), so our vacuums actually help to reduce the virus in the air through the filtration process. (National Center for Biotechnology,


Restroom cleaning & disinfection with the Compass/Karcher AP 100/50.

 Thoroughly clean then disinfect with dual chemical metering.

 No touch cleaning protects workers from potential transmission through touching surfaces during cleaning.

 Make sure that the restrooms support the use of the Compass and do not have drywall near toilets, sinks, mirrors, and urinals.

Vital Oxide

 For Vital Oxide recommended use is a 10 minute contact time at the undiluted disinfectant level concentration. Vital Solutions, in currently in process for the EPA emerging viral pathogens for the product Vital Oxide 82972-1. The CDX number is CDX_2020_001747 and the EP number is 745699

 Registered as a carpet Sanitizer, so it could be used to sanitize all soft surfaces such as carpet or leather. Needs 60 minutes of contact time. Test first to avoid any damage to the surface, such as color change on leather.

 Vital Oxide Summary:

o Viral disinfection: 10 minute contact time

o Soft surface sanitization: 5 minute contact time

o Carpet sanitization: 60 minute contact time

o Note: there are no EPA tests for soft surface or carpet disinfection at this time.


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