If you’ve decided to play it safe and stay home during the pandemic raging on our doorsteps, chances are you’ve been going online and shopping for things you need — or don’t need — if you’re a stress shopper. Unfortunately, along with every delivery package comes the fear that all the precautions that you’ve taken will be in vain, because there could be that one box that will test positive for coronavirus, which could get you or members of your household ill.
The country’s top pandemic expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has some advice when it comes to dealing with packages. “We know that the virus, for a limited period of time, can live on what are called fomites, which are inanimate objects,” Fauci told The Washington Post in a YouTube interview. “So what I do, for example, when something comes — the package, you know, I don’t scrub it down. I just leave it on the side for a couple of days before I open it. And even that is probably overkill” (via Eat This, Not That!).
Here’s the most important thing you can do to stay healthy, according to Fauci: “I think washing hands really well so much obviates the need to be cleaning everything around you. [That’s] the one thing you could do very easily.”
Dr. Fauci and the CDC agree packages are not a significant threat
The CDC guidelines on how to avoid getting sick with the coronavirus through mail, packages, or food deliveries has changed somewhat since the pandemic began (via the CDC). While they point out that there is still plenty we need to know about the virus, what we do know is that it usually spreads via respiratory droplets — or the stuff we consciously or unconsciously spew when we speak, cough, or sneeze. And even though the virus is able to survive for short periods on surfaces, it is unlikely to spread through packages and letters sent by courier or in the mail. And while it may be possible that someone can touch a package that’s been infected by a person who is sick with COVID-19, and then become sick themselves, the CDC no longer thinks this is the main way the virus spreads.
The CDC continues to hold that the coronavirus travels from person to person through infected respiratory droplets, which can then land near the noses and mouths of people who are in close contact or within a distance of six feet. That’s why social distancing, hand washing, as well as masks, continue to be the best way to protect yourself and those you love- against this potentially deadly disease.
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