Risks of coronavirus infection from packages are ‘extremely low,’ one expert says
The spread of coronavirus in China led to a surge in online orders from consumers who were stuck at home.
As the number of cases of the new virus climbs in the US, the same could happen here.
But is shopping online any safer than going to a store? Can a package carry the virus?
The lifespan of the novel virus on any surface is “likely hours to a day or so,” Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, recently told Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward.
So it’s possible that the virus could lurk on a box.
But the risks of transmission from a package is likely very low, according to health experts and agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
“If we had transmission via packages we would have seen immediate global spread out of China early in the outbreak,” Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University, told Business Insider. “We did not see that and therefore I think the risk is incredibly low.
Many factors influence a virus’ lifespan on a surface.
Generally, higher humidity, moderate temperatures, low wind, and a solid, non-porous surface are all good for the survival of a coronavirus, Woodward reported.
Shipping conditions should make it difficult for the virus to survive, McGraw said.
“We know that viruses are likely to only live a few hours to a few days under the sort of conditions we expose packages to, including shifts in temperature and humidity,” McGraw said.
The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization back this up.
“In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” the CDC said on its website, specifically concerning risks associated with accepting packages from China.
“Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets,” which are transmitted by sneezing and coughing, the CDC said.
The World Health Organization has issued similar guidance, saying, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”
To be extra safe, consumers can clean packages or other surfaces with solutions containing 62% to 71% ethanol alcohol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Human coronaviruses could be “efficiently inactivated” on surfaces within one minute using these solutions, according to a recent study.
GET $15 OFF ON YOUR FIRST ORDER 💖
Join the Birch + Fog Insiders Program and you'll receive a coupon for $15 Off your first order!
And be included in exclusive giveways, freebies, vip sales, and other goodies only you will know about.
Real People Share Their CBD Experiences
Our CBD Best-Sellers
Rosé Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer$ 6.99 – $ 19.99 Select options
HighOnLove® Dry Body Oil$ 55.00 Add to cart
Me First Unclouded CBD Headache Relief Roller$ 35.95 Read moreSOLD OUT - Join Waitlist
Me First CBD Pain Stick$ 45.99 Add to cart
Me First CBD Bath Soak$ 24.99 Read moreSOLD OUT - Join Waitlist
Nectar Botanicals Healing Salve$ 29.99 – $ 43.99 Select options
Rosé Men Face and Beard Oil$ 23.40 – $ 46.80 Select options
Kootenay Labs “The Balm” Juniper Salve$ 49.98 – $ 89.98 Select options
BC Trees Organic Pain Salve$ 69.99 Add to cart
Sea B Dee CBD Infused Bath Bombs – 3 Pack$ 38.75 Add to cart
Herb Angels Topical Cream$ 34.00 – $ 114.00 Select options
MOTA Lip Balm$ 7.95 Select options
3 CBD Cocktails For A Dry January At Home Updated Jan 6, 2021 Across Canada, as stay-at-home restrictions continue into the new year and alcohol consumption continues to rise, we may all be in need for a few alterative drink options to keep our bodies and minds...
The Ultimate 2020 Self-Care Gift Guide. Under $30. DECEMBER,12 2020 ‘Tis the season for last minute panic gift shopping. Albeit there is no one-size-fits-all gift guide, we’d like to think we have a few core people on your list pretty well figured out. Below you’ll...
The 2020 Great Canadian Guide To Shopping Local For The Holidays December 6, 2020 This will be a make-or-break year for small businesses across Canada. Between lockdowns, store-opening restrictions and widespread income loss among the general population,...