shadowed faces of 2 people with coronavirus cell in background (Photo: Shutterstock)

How worried should you be about catching COVID-19 coronavirus when you're at work, the grocery store, or just bringing in the latest Amazon delivery? While coronavirus continues to be highly contagious, it's not invincible. Without the proper environment, the virus's viability breaks down.

Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have analyzed just how long the virus can last in various environments. Perhaps the most concerning is the virus's ability to transmit through the air as an aerosol after a person has coughed or sneezed. The researchers found that it takes three hours for the virus to lose its viability. Don't let that work you into a panic–that's how long it takes the entirety of the virus to break down. The half-life, or amount of time it takes for half of the virus particles to lose viability, is 66 minutes–and as it continues to break down, your risk of infection also decreases.

Here's a look at how long the virus can linger on other surfaces:

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Emily Payne

Emily Payne is director, content analytics for ALM's Business & Finance Markets and former managing editor for BenefitsPRO. A Wisconsin native, she has spent the past decade writing and editing for various athletic and fitness publications. She holds an English degree and Business certificate from the University of Wisconsin.