You Are Probably Not Going to Catch COVID-19 From the Package

Social distancing means that many people avoid shopping. Depending on where you live, these stores may be temporarily closed. All of this means that we all do a little more online shopping than usual. These delivered packets also involve a rather big question: Are they safe?

Before this package arrived at your place, it was probably touched by quite a significant number of people: the person who packed it, the person who picked it up for delivery, the truck drivers along the way, and finally, the person who delivered it to you. threshold.

The CDC examined previous coronaviruses and found that they are, in general, “due to the poor survival rate of these coronaviruses on the surface, there is probably a very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over days or weeks at ambient temperatures. … “

The CDC does not recommend sanitizing packages.

The World Health Organization (WHO) offers similar advice . He made this statement early in the pandemic, when cases were concentrated in China: “People receiving parcels from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus.”

We had questions about parcels that are delivered by local postal carrier or overnight mail. According to the WHO website , “the likelihood of a commercial product contaminating an infected person is low, and the risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 from packaging that has been moved, traveled and exposed to various conditions and temperatures is also low. … “

The New York Times, reporting on a study published Tuesday March 17, 2020 in the New England Journal of Medicine , says the study “suggests the virus decays on cardboard within a day, reducing consumer fears that shipments will spread virus while staying and working from home. “

UPS, FedEx and USPS have issued statements showing that they are following CDC instructions in all of their shipments and are sending home any drivers or operators who may exhibit any flu symptoms.

In an interview with Business Insider, Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “If we had packet transmission, we would immediately see the global spread from China at the start of the outbreak … we didn’t notice it. and so I think the risk is incredibly low. “

She says: “We know that viruses can live from hours to days under the conditions in which we expose packaging, including changes in temperature and humidity,” a position shared by the CDC.

If you are really worried about the package (again, you shouldn’t worry), then the best course of action is to open it as usual, near the front door, or maybe even on the doorstep. Then take the packaging into the basket and wash your hands immediately. The most important part of this whole process is hand washing at the end.

According to the WHO, “The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently. In this way, you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid contamination that could occur by touching your eyes, mouth and nose. “

Updated at 4:45 pm 3/18/20 to include information from WHO on the likelihood of contamination of goods by an infected person and information on the NEJM study.


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