Should you be worried about transmitting COVID-19 from packages that arrive at your doorstep?
As people rely more heavily on e-commerce companies such as Amazon amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, it’s question some customers have as they bring boxes into their homes.
COVID-19 can remain “stable” on cardboard for up to 24 hours, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Variables affecting stability include temperature, air quality, and more.
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The CDC said “there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”
“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low,” the WHO noted.
A Penn State professor told Business Insider that the risk of transmission from packages is “incredibly low” because of the journey it takes to get to your door.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Amazon chief spokesperson Jay Carney said there has yet to be a case involving COVID-19 transmission from a package.
“However, customers should take appropriate measures if they are concerned about the possible transmission of the virus,” he added. That includes wiping down packages with sanitizer, or placing them in a separate room for a matter of time, Carney said.
“We certainly would understand if customers were do that, because like everyone, they are and we are taking every precaution we can based on the evidence we have,” he said.
The first known case of an infected worker at a U.S. Amazon warehouse was reported by The Atlantic last week. Amazon closed the Queens, N.Y. delivery station and associates were sent home with full pay. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Amazon workers at six U.S. warehouses have tested positive.
At least five workers at Amazon warehouses in Europe have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Bloomberg.
Under the strain of high demand as more people turn to online shopping during the coronavirus crisis, Amazon is implementing preventative health measures for employees, delivery and transportation partners at sites around the world. They include increasing frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites; adjusting practices to ensure social distancing; requiring employees to stay home and seek medical attention if they are feeling unwell; and more.
Four legislators sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Friday outlining their concern for the safety of employees who help pack and ship customer orders.
Amazon plans to add a whopping 100,000 warehouse workers to keep up with orders.
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