Ordering online: Will you get the virus from mail?

ET Online|
​Home delivery
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​Home delivery

As the lockdown goes into effect, more and more people will rely on shopping online; which raises the question - can you catch the coronavirus from the parcels and packages you get?

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​Mail disinfection
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​Mail disinfection

Mail disinfection first came about in the 14th century. Items that were considered particularly susceptible, including textiles and letters, were subject to fumigation: dipped in or sprinkled with vinegar, then often exposed to smoke from aromatic substances, from rosemary to, in later years, chlorine.

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​A possibility
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​A possibility

The structure of the virus’ protective envelope helps it bond tightly to certain surfaces: skin in particular, as well as fabric and wood, but also plastic and steel, with a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, warning that there is potential for transmission by contaminated objects.

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​Money matters
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​Money matters

Our currency notes could also be a vector for the virus; China’s central bank, in February, collected bank notes from Hubei, the worst-hit province, and then sanitized the stacks of bills, either by baking them at a high temperature or bathing them in ultraviolet rays.

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​No evidence
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​No evidence

The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, both have said that “there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.”

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​Science
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​Science

Scientists working with the virus have concluded that the infection is passed on by the tiny droplets that are sprayed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Many scientists think it is quite unlikely that you can catch the coronavirus by touching a surface that has the virus on it and subsequently touching your own mouth or nose.

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​Survival
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​Survival

Researchers in the USA have found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus survived for up to 24 hours on cardboard — three times longer than the original SARS virus. Meanwhile, researchers from Hong Kong found no infectious virus left on paper after three hours.

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​Best practice
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​Best practice

Wash your hands - wash them every few hours and wash your hands after you handle a delivery. If you’re feeling especially paranoid, use gloves and dispose of the packaging immediately.

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