Infectious disease experts warn that COVID-19 can live on your shoes for up to five days. Experts have always known that shoes are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, with a 2008 study by microbiologists from the University of Arizona finding that the average shoe sole contains more 421,000 bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
While there have been no studies focusing specifically on how long the coronavirus can live on a person's shoe, a study published by the National Institutes of Health showed that the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours while surviving for up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
"We've learned from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that coronavirus can remain active on some surfaces, like plastic, for up to two to three days," public health specialist Carol Winner told HuffPost. "This suggests that viruses deposited on shoes made of plastic could retain the active virus for a few days."
Health experts say that while this is concerning, it is unlikely for somebody to contract COVID-19 from their shoes.
"There is no evidence to say that the coronavirus comes into the house from shoes," Winner said. "Pragmatically, they are on the body part furthest from our face, and we do know that the greatest risk of transmission is person to person, not shoe to person."
Even so, it is still a good idea to take off your shoes when going inside, especially if your home has carpeting.
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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