Can You Get Coronavirus from Domestic Mail and Packages?

A stack of parcels sitting on a porch in front of someone's front door on their welcome mat.Roschetzky / Shutterstock Photography

If you order things directly from China, the long journey your packages take to get to you is enough to kill the coronavirus. But what about national packages?

Although the weeks it takes for your mail to come from China to the United States are enough so that the coronavirus dies, this may not be the case for domestic mail.

The facts about coronavirus and surface contamination

Although we simply call it “coronavirus”, it is specifically “severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” and is one of many known coronaviruses.

Research is in progress on this version of the coronavirus, but, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is comparable to those which preceded it. It could remain on surfaces from as little as a few hours to at least a few days.

With the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 may live on surfaces for a few days, you may be concerned about ordering things by mail. (This thought certainly crossed my mind.) Fortunately, the WHO says there is nothing to fear.

Why the minimal risk? SARS-CoV-2 can survive for days under ideal conditions. Swinging in delivery trucks, sitting in hot semi-trailers, finding yourself in the cold holds of cargo planes – in the face of very variable humidity and UV exposure along the way – all this creates very inhospitable conditions.

However, if you are receiving a night delivery from an infected area, it makes sense to take precautions since the virus will have less time in the difficult world before it reaches you.

How to manage packages and mail

The coronavirus is transmitted by mucus and saliva, so someone should sneeze on the item you bought, touch it with the hands in which they sneeze, or cough or lick a seal on an envelope. If you are concerned about this type of exposure to a package before it reaches you, there are simple precautions that require minimal effort.

You can choose to take precautions when ordering items from states that have registered SARS-CoV-2 cases or simply choose to be more careful with all of your mail and packages until the end of the year. ‘epidemic.

Here is a basic approach:

Wash your hands after entering mail or opening packages.
Clean solid objects with a disinfectant to remove any viruses.
Dispose of the packaging immediately, preferably by putting it directly in your outdoor dustbin or recycling bin, then wash your hands.

Although it is very unlikely that the virus will survive the trip, even from a neighboring state, it takes very little effort to play it safe by taking the above precautions.

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