Can you catch the coronavirus because you ordered a package on Amazon?
Each day more positive COVID-19 tests are popping up in the US, and now, it appears at least six Amazon warehouses have experienced an outbreak of the coronavirus. For those who are ordering things from Amazon, this fact naturally has parents worried about their safety. But should you be? Here are the facts.
Earlier this week, several Amazon workers in factories all over the world have tested positive for COVID-19, according to local media reports. These workers spend their day collecting Amazon orders to place into cardboard boxes and shipping them to families all over the world. We’re relying on these types of services more now than ever as we practice social distancing and limit our trips to the store, but knowing there have been coronavirus outbreaks across several warehouses, should we be concerned about the virus on these boxes?
Transmission of COVID-19 via our Amazon cardboard boxes is an understandable concern, but there isn’t a whole lot we know about it yet either. A report published on March 11th in the preprint database medRxiv shared an analysis that discovered the virus could remain viable in the air for up to three hours, on copper for up to four hours, and cardboard for up to 24 hours, and stainless steel and plastic for a staggering 72 hours. A revised version of this research was later published in the March 17th edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
While this might sound alarming, the risk of catching the coronavirus from cardboard is still relatively low, and according to one expert, certainly not on a high list of worries. Dr. Logan Spector, Division Director and Professor, Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota, tells Fatherly, “There has been a study published about the survival of COVID-19, and it’s longest-lived on plastic and cardboard.” He adds, “Still, that is a theoretical concern. So far, there’s no evidence that it’s being transmitted that way. I would put it in low-risk. I’m going out for takeout tonight.”
It’s hard not to be over-cautious when top researchers aren’t 100 percent sure what is or what isn’t safe right now. But what they do know, and recommend, is staying away from other people and indoors as much as possible and wash your hands (yes, even after you handle your Amazon packages) are the best protection measures against catching COVID-19.
That said, there’s no reason to think you’re suddenly at high risk from catching coronavirus from a package delivered to your house. Right now, you’ve got other things to worry about.