Can Holiday Packages Transmit COVID-19?

Kristin Englund, MD, tells us how long coronavirus lives on cardboard, and whether you should worry about those deliveries on your doorstep.

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CLEVELAND – As holiday packages pile up on your doorstep, you might be wondering if those cardboard boxes carry more than a gift.

Kristin Englund, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic, said it’s not likely you’ll catch COVID-19 from delivery boxes.

“At most, cardboard can have the virus on it for about 24 hours, so the time that it’s gone through all of the processing, it’s really unlikely that the cardboard box is going to have any virus on it,” she said.

Research suggests COVID-19 can live on surfaces, but Dr. Englund said there’s very little documented evidence of transmission that way.

She adds COVID-19 is mostly spread through respiratory droplets in the air when people talk, cough or sneeze and touching packages that come through the mail is low risk.

However, if you’re worried about potential germs on your boxes, practicing good hand hygiene should ease your mind.

“If you’re concerned, the easiest thing to do is open up the cardboard box, wash your hands, sanitize them, take out the contents, dispose of the cardboard box and sanitize your hands again,” said Dr. Englund.

Dr. Englund reminds us the safest way to shop this season is online because you’re avoiding other people and airborne virus particles, which is the main way coronavirus is spread.

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