One of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 is “How long does the coronavirus last on surfaces?”
The answer is extremely important because it affects not only how we handle delivered packages but also how we shop for groceries, how we go about disinfecting our homes, and a host of other activities in our daily lives.
To find the answer, this article turns to the latest information coming out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other trusted sources.
COVID-19: How It Spreads
The WHO advises that COVID-19 is spread through saliva droplets when an infected person exhales (breathes, coughs or sneezes). The droplets float in the air and can “land on objects and surfaces around the person.”
So, apart from breathing in contaminated air, you can catch COVID-19 if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
This fact has left many of us wondering how long surfaces remain contaminated. Thankfully, researchers have set about finding the answer.
How Long Does the Coronavirus Last On Surfaces?
In a March 24, 2020 article, the NIH shared the findings of a study led by Dr. Vincent Munster of its National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The researchers found that the virus which causes COVID-19 “is stable for several hours to days in aerosols [exhaled air] and on surfaces.”
They shared the following statistics about how long the coronavirus contaminates different surfaces.
- Copper – Up to four hours
- Cardboard – Up to 24 hours
- Plastic – Up to two to three days
- Stainless Steel – Up to two to three days
What Does This Mean for Your Delivered Packages?
These findings may seem alarming at first since a large number of packages arrive in a cardboard box with the items inside typically wrapped in plastic. The Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19) page on the WHO website does, however, provides some reassurance. It says:
“the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”
If you are still worried, what can you do? It helps to remember that both the WHO and the CDC recommend several ways in which we can protect ourselves from the coronavirus. These include
- Disinfecting surfaces
- Frequent, proper handwashing (as shown in this CDC video)
They also warn against touching your face to prevent transferring the virus from your hands to your mouth, nose or eyes.
It can’t hurt, therefore, to
- Wipe down a package with a disinfectant before you open it
- Immediately discard the packaging
- Wash your hands
- Remember not to touch your face
You can also consider wearing disposable gloves when you handle a newly delivered package. Some experts warn, however, that gloves are not very effective at preventing coronavirus spread – primarily because we tend to cross-contaminate items while wearing gloves.
Furthermore, many persons are likely to touch the possibly contaminated outer surface of the gloves while removing them. You can find the CDC’s instructions on how to properly remove disposable gloves here.
For the vast majority of us, cancelling all package deliveries is not really an option. Neither is leaving a package untouched for days, waiting for the any possible contaminating viruses on it to no longer be viable.
At The Porch Pod, we know you rely on your packages and want you to be safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For all orders between now and July 1st 2020, we'll be including a FREE germicidal UV-C lamp with every order!! UV-C lamps have been scientifically proven to damage the DNA of viruses and are used in clinical laboratories, hospitals, and other sanitation procedures the world over. Simply place an order for your a Porch Pod package safe and a UV-C lamp will be included at no extra charge!