Can you get Coronavirus from your mail? Here’s what the experts say

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With more than 80 million Americans being required to stay in their homes as much as possible, there has been a major uptick in deliveries whether it be food, laundry, workout equipment or toys for your children so you can keep them distracted while you try to work. But this brings up another question: is it safe to open these deliveries given the unstoppable nature of coronavirus?

The good news is you should not be afraid to open up a cardboard package. According to a recent study conducted with members of the Laboratory of Virology with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the virus only survives for 24 hours on cardboard. It can live for up to 72 hours on stainless steel.

The CDC actually doesn’t suggest disinfecting a cardboard package, but just taking the usual precautions such as washing your hands frequently.  Alan Koff, MD, chief fellow of the infectious disease program at Yale School of Medicine, told Health.com it would be very hard for the virus to survive on a package that has been traveling. “It is likely that the temperature outside and the length of time the package is in shipping may impact the survival of the virus on that surface,” he said.

You’ve got mail

What you need to worry about is the health of the person delivering your packages.

Amazon delivery workers are also making a concerted effort to be as safe as possible when it comes to the delivery of packages. CEO Jeff Bezos announced Saturday that the company is taking extra precautions to ensure that their 100 million customers are safe from COVID-19 exposure. In  a statement, Bezos said, “We’ve implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at our sites around the world — everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting our practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines.”

Amazon is also offering grants to employees who have Coronavirus. They will receive “two-weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine by the government or Amazon on supporting our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time.”

Amazon also recently opened 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the US in its fulfillment centers and delivery networks in order for customers to continue to receive critical supplies at their doorsteps as the outbreak of the coronavirus continues.

However, it should be noted that as of yesterday workers in at least eight Amazon warehouses across the country have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report from NPR. 

You may not feel as good about non-Amazon packages and your mail in general as The New York Times reported that 24 postal workers had contracted Coronavirus as of March 23 which has led to more workers going in while sick.  However, the United States Postal Service released a memo recently emphasizing they are urging their employees to stay home if they feel sick. They also encourage their carriers to follow three-to-six-foot social distancing rule when interacting with customers.

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