Can You Catch Coronavirus from a UPS, Amazon or Fedex Package?

May 6, 2020 Topic: Health Blog Brand: Coronavirus Tags: HealthEconomyTechnologyCoronavirusCOVID-19

Can You Catch Coronavirus from a UPS, Amazon or Fedex Package?

Good news: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chance of getting coronavirus from delivered packages is considered very low. It’s even lower when the packages have traveled over a period of days or weeks

With millions of Americans still following shelter-in-place directives, the need for quick and efficient home deliveries has never been greater.

Amid an increasing number of studies showing that the coronavirus can survive for periods on cardboard and plastic, people are naturally wondering if they can contract COVID-19 from delivery packages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chance of getting coronavirus from delivered packages is considered very low. It’s even lower when the packages have traveled over a period of days or weeks.

The World Health Organization agreed with that assessment, saying that it is very unlikely for a package to be contaminated after being exposed to different weather conditions.

A recent study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, discovered that COVID-19 was detectable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.

 

Researchers, though, noted that there have been no COVID-19 cases linked to direct contact with delivery packages.

Despite having no known cases, infectious disease experts are open to the idea of individuals taking extra precautionary steps, such as leaving packages outside or in the garage for a day or two after receiving them.  

 

The most consistent advice is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after handling packages and their contents.

Delivery companies have also taken proactive measures to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread.

For example, both UPS and FedEx have stopped requiring in-person signatures for most package deliveries. In addition, large grocery stores like Walmart and Target are now offering online ordering and curbside pickups.

Recently, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company is taking increased safety measures to protect its 100 million customers and its employees.

“We’ve implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at our sites around the world—everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting our practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines,” Bezos wrote in an open letter on Amazon’s blog.

The U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx have been disinfecting its facilities and vehicles on a daily basis to limit the COVID-19 spread.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.