How Long Can Coronavirus Survive on Packages? | Houston Methodist On Health

The new coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic is changing our daily lives in many ways. for some of us, it means choosing delivery over shopping in the store a lot more than usual, resulting in more packages at your doorstep.

and even if you’re not getting more deliveries than usual, you may still be wondering: should you take extra precautions with packages and deliveries during covid-19?

Coronavirus can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, but these infectious respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces. If the virus can survive on a surface, for example a package, could touching this contaminated surface make you sick?

Can the coronavirus survive on packages?

We are still learning the details of how long the coronavirus can survive on surfaces, but preliminary evidence indicates that the virus can live on various surfaces for anywhere from several hours to several days.

The virus appears to be able to survive on cardboard for about 24 hours and on plastic for up to three days.

However, it is important to know that the amount of virus detectable on a surface decreases dramatically over time; for example, in just four hours, the infectious virus on the cardboard is significantly less. furthermore, these numbers come from experiments conducted under ideal laboratory conditions, which differ from our everyday environmental conditions.

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While it is possible for the novel coronavirus to survive on packaging material, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the virus is unlikely to spread through mail and packages.

Rather, the CDC says that person-to-person transmission through close contact with an infected person, even if that person appears healthy, remains the most likely way to spread the new coronavirus. This means that social distancing, washing hands and covering coughs, wearing a cloth mask in public, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces remain the most effective ways to protect yourself from COVID-19.

tips for handling packages and deliveries

While person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 via packages is technically possible, it is unlikely, especially if you follow guidelines to protect yourself from the virus.

Here are some tips to stay safe while accepting packages and deliveries:

  • Avoid close contact with the delivery person. Request contactless delivery, recommending leaving the package in a safe place outside your home. At the very least, be sure to keep a distance of six feet between you and the person making the delivery.
  • Wash your hands after handling a package. After you throw away the package, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • disinfect surfaces. For example, if you leave the package on the kitchen counter while you open it, disinfect the counter with a household cleaner or diluted bleach solution that can prepare at home
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. The good news is that the virus cannot infect you through the skin. but, you can get sick if it is in your hands and you touch your eyes, nose or mouth. this means you should avoid touching your face as much as possible.
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If you are still very nervous about your packages, you can leave them untouched in an isolated space for several hours, possibly a whole day, or disinfect the package before opening.

are you worried you might have covid-19?

  • if you have symptoms of covid-19, you can speak with a virtual urgent care provider 24/7. the provider will help you determine if you need to be tested and advise you where to go.

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