To help avoid acquiring or transmitting coronavirus when we go out, we order more delivery than ever before when stocking up on household goods and groceries. But what about all those packages from Amazon and Walmart — do you take a Clorox wipe or disinfectant spray to the box, or leave it out for days? Do you need to wear a face mask when opening your mail?
Right now, the answer is no to all of that, and here’s why. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is very low risk for the coronavirus to spread from packages that have traveled over a period of days. The World Health Organization also notes that it’s very unlikely for a package to be contaminated after being exposed to different conditions, and therefore the risk of a person contracting the virus from the package is considered low.
So what about packages that arrive the same day, like food delivery services? Coronaviruses like the one going around now have been found to last on surfaces for up to nine days (RNA from the virus causing COVID-19 was found up to 17 days later). However, the current knowledge is that it’s safe to order takeout and groceries. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food or packaging.
It certainly won’t hurt for you to take extra precautions at home if that’s your preference. The most consistent advice we’ve seen is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after handling packages and their contents. If you’d like, you can also dispose of the packaging right away, and wash your hands again. Here’s more information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.