Recent research evaluated the survival of the COVID-19 virus on different surfaces and reported that the virus can remain viable for up to 72 hours in plastic and stainless steel, up to four hours in copper and up to 24 hours in cardboard. NEXSTAR) — Most of us stopped cleaning our food and disinfecting all our possessions long before the pandemic when we learned that the real risk of transmission of COVID-19 was airborne. Does the arrival of the omicron variant change that calculation? Are you worried about touching the coronavirus on surfaces? We asked an infectious disease specialist how long the virus can survive on common surfaces and what we need to know to stay safe.