Industry Hits Back at Sensational Reporting of New COVID Study

October 2020

Industry representatives have dismissed as simplistic and misleading the sensational stories in the media following the publication of a recent study by Australian scientific research institute CSIRO (entitled ‘The Effect of Temperature on Persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on Common Surfaces’), which claims that the virus can last on banknotes for up to 28 days.

The study found that the coronavirus can live on many surfaces, including banknotes, for significantly longer than initially assumed. But this finding was made under highly select laboratory conditions, in the dark and with controlled humidity and temperature that deliberately made no attempt to replicate ‘real-world’ conditions.

While CSIRO made this point, the news was nevertheless sensationalised – perhaps predictably – by the world’s media, which focused on banknotes as opposed to any of the other surfaces examined, such as mobile phone and ATM screens, glass, rails and door handles.

According to Wolfram Seidemann, Chairman of the International Currency Association (ICA), there is nothing wrong with the study per se, but it was carried out with a high load of virus and in the dark (when UV light from daylight is known to be a disinfectant and to kill the virus). And that while the virus was detectable on every surface, ‘detect’ does not translate into ‘likely to spread’ COVID-19.

‘What we can conclude from this’, he said, ‘is that if you sneeze into a banknote and then keep it in the dark, the virus may survive on it for longer’.

‘It is great that each study that comes out teaches us more about how to live with this virus, he added. ‘What is not new, but still not encouraging, is that the way scientific papers and discoveries are covered is often simplistic and misleading’.

His comments were echoed by Mike Lee of ATMIA, who stated that ‘the deliberate use of fear-mongering hyperbole in headlines like ‘Coronavirus May Stay for Weeks on Banknotes and Touchscreens’… does a disservice to the CSIRO scientists trying to better understand how long the virus persists on surfaces. The public needn’t be alarmed by these headlines and should coolly assess all the available facts.’

Also in this issue:

  • Industry Hits Back at Sensational Reporting
  • Vaultex Supports Delivery of Ukraine’s Cash Strategy
  • Cash – a Force for Good?
  • ICA Commits to Sustainability
  • The Truth About Plastic Banknotes
  • Bank of England Extends Contract with De La Rue
  • News in Brief
  • Colourful Times for Royal Canadian Mint
  • New Coin with Anti-Counterfeit Certificate
  • People in the News
  • Fiji’s Commemorative Banknote and Coin
  • RBI – Impacted but Not Daunted by COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Increased Demand for Banknotes in Australia
  • An Unprecedented Challenge
  • Turning Threats into Opportunities
  • Central Banks and their COVID-19 Experiences
  • Industry Wide Commitment to Sustainability
  • Depth Perception – An Important Authentication Tool for Security Features
  • Demax Launches FreeEdge Stripe and Patch
  • NEXUS – Overcoming Conventional Wisdom
  • Cash & Payment News
  • New Report for Circulating Coins
  • The Cash Cycle Seminar Agendas in a Virtual World
  • The Concept of House Notes
  • Note and Coin News
  • Banknote of the Month
  • No Early Return to Conferences

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