May 5, 2020 • 2 Min

Worried About Getting COVID-19 from Shipped Packages? Wash Your Hands!


As part of social distancing, people are limiting their trips to the grocery store and are ordering necessities through delivery services instead.

Are the packages coming into the house going to bring COVID-19 along with needed food and medicine? People at higher risk from the virus, such as cancer patients, are concerned.

How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Surfaces?

According to the CDC, the primary method by which the coronavirus spreads is through respiratory droplets when people are within six feet of each other. The droplets are inhaled or land on your body, and enter when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

But research has shown that the virus can live from hours to days on different surfaces, surviving two to three days on plastic and stainless steel and less than 24 hours on cardboard. This has people worried.

Both the CDC and WHO agree that the risk of getting COVID-19 from delivered packages is very low. In fact, because packages are transported in a variety of environments, most contaminants are very unlikely to survive. And it is not clear that the virus found on surfaces is actually infectious.

Should You Disinfect Your Packages?

So, what should you do about the packages you receive? Keep them outside for a day? Spray or wipe them with disinfectant? You can do all of the above but the number 1 recommendation by the CDC, WHO, OSHA, and doctors is to WASH YOUR HANDS!

Experts strongly recommend that when you receive cardboard packages open them right away, dispose of the outer cardboard and thoroughly wash your hands in hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Disinfect if it makes you more comfortable, but washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.