Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. This week’s question comes from one of the fans who entered our giveaway contest for a Roku. Today we will answer the following question: “can you get coronavirus in the mail?”
Can you get COVID-19 by checking your mail?
To be honest, this question occurred to me long before writing this post. In fact, it was right before Italy’s lockdown that I started becoming nervous about checking the mail. I became nervous, somewhat obsessively so, with whether it was safe to check the mail or not.
The answer to the question posed in the headline of this article is basically no. It’s generally considered safe to check your mail, and the US Post Office has disinfection procedures that it can start using if this is found not to be the case. Furthermore, we regularly follow the US Post Office’s updates and they regularly confirm that both the CDC and WHO have stated there is no evidence that coronavirus spreads by mail.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Of course, you know us. Even when writing short posts, we’re not content with the simple, one-line answer. Life is too nuanced for that.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19, also known by its catchier title, SARS-CoV-2, mostly spreads by “viral droplets.” That is to say, an infected person coughs, sneezes, or otherwise projects saliva onto you, thereby infecting you. It’s gross, yes, but yet another reason to say it, not spray it.
This is why social distancing, or standing six feet apart from others, is such an effective way of reducing the spread of the virus. Mercifully, the coronavirus is not a true airborne disease like measles or chickenpox.
There is one complicating wrinkle, however. Researchers have found that the virus can live on surfaces for a short period of time. It can live on cardboard for up to a day, or plastic and steel for 2-3 days. However, this form of viral transmission is considerably less common than person-to-person spread of the disease.
Extra Safety Tips
It is incredibly improbable that you will contract COVID-19 by checking your mail. However, it is not impossible. Considering the novelty of the virus and the importance of your health, we recommend that you take steps above and beyond what is typically recommended. That way, you can keep yourself and your family safe.
- Wash your hands after handling external packaging. Wash them often and wash them thoroughly. That means you need to use soap and water and take at least 20 seconds. (Washing breaks the coronavirus down on a molecular level.)
- Don’t touch your face after checking the mail.
- Sanitize high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and your cell phone.
- If you really want to go the extra mile, leave packages outside for a day before bringing them in. If you must bring them in before them, put them on a towel and wash your hands after handling them.
By taking a few extra steps, you can safely check your mail without worry. That way, you can continue to receive packages you ordered online and avoid making much more risky in-person purchases.
Stay safe out there!