Coronavirus: Should you disinfect your post?

There's still a lot of unknowns regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus. But can you catch it by ordering things online?

How clean are your parcels?

parcels outside doorstep

Armed with hand sanitiser, wet wipes, and the classic hot soap and water, it still takes a lot of time and effort to clean, sanitise, and disinfect everything in your vicinity. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US provide a lot of tips and information on their website including this guide on when and how to wash your hands.

Even though there are still a lot of unknown variables regarding the novel coronavirus, named COVID-19, the CDC can still use insight from previous coronaviruses like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV as a reference and guide.

"It doesn’t seem likely that the coronavirus can spread through the post"

According to the CDC’s FAQ section on its website, it doesn’t seem likely that the coronavirus can spread through packages sent through the post.

“In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.” However, it’s still a good idea to wash your hands after handling your post. 

If you’re concerned about COVID-19, your Amazon package will most likely be OK by the time it reaches your doorstep. “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets,” the CDC website continues. “Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.” 

 

What about infected postal workers?

a postman could potentially be infected

Could coronavirus transfer from a postal worker to your package, and then to you? 

“If a postman has the virus, and there are droplets transmitted to the package, it is theoretically possible to get the virus since it can live on surfaces for up to nine days,” Darshan Shah, MD, founder and Medical Director at Next Health, tells Refinery29. But, again, while it’s possible, it’s still unlikely. 

 

Originally published on RD.com and RD.ca

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