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Can COVID-19 be passed via currencies (dollar bills, coins, checks, etc.)?
Yes, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19) can survive on surfaces like dollar bills. How long the virus survives is dependent on the surface itself as well as environmental conditions. At most, the virus will persist for 2-3 days under optimal conditions.
Preliminary findings suggest that COVID-19 may persist on money for a longer period of time than cardboard/paper-based products because cash in the United States is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton, not paper.
Current research has shown that cash may be a potential vector of transmissible diseases, such as bacteria and viruses; however, no research has been done on COVID-19 virus specifically. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends thoroughly washing hands after handling money and moving towards cashless payment methods when possible.
Drafted 20 March 2020