The COVID-19 pandemic has many people self-isolating and many businesses making the necessary move to close their storefronts to the public. Many clients and consumers are ramping up their online and delivery shopping in connection with that. The question of course arose: Is there a risk of viral transmission from the mail at this time? We put together this short guide to answer key questions and provide some guidance for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike so everyone can make the decisions that are best for their families.
Risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus through the mail
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that they believe mail to be relatively low risk:
“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.” (WHO)
While this virus can survive on a variety of surfaces (more on that below), the timeline between packaging, shipping and receiving is likely to minimize or eliminate any potential viral issues.
For those who are feeling concerned, there are a number of ways to minimize any further risk. You can:
- Use a disinfectant wipe (store bought, or use a disinfectant spray and paper towel or 70% isopropyl alcohol and paper towel) to wipe down packaged items from the store or from the mail.
- Mailed boxes can be opened outside or in the garage and packages wiped down from inside the shipping box before bringing them inside. Wash your hands as soon as possible afterward.
- The COVID-19 virus appears to last the longest on hard surfaces like metal, glass and plastic. Purchased items made out of these materials (for example, like baby carrier buckles or rings, or inner packaging materials) can be safely wiped down with a disinfectant or alcohol solution.
- Scientists are less clear as to how long the COVID-19 virus lasts on fabrics, though it appears that it has a shorter lifespan than on hard surfaces. Fabrics should be washed on the hottest allowable temperature for that fabric. Safe laundering practices for your particular carrier should be listed on the product tag. Contact the manufacturer if you have specific questions.
- If you are a manufacturer, adding this additional cleaning info to your website or social media platforms may assist your customers now. You may also want to include info about any additional protective measures available for your carrier style, i.e., ring covers, strap covers, carrier bibs or carrier covers that can be washed more frequently and easily.
We will continue to update the above information and articles of interest as information becomes available.
COVID-19 on surfaces:
COVID-19: How Long Does the Corona Virus Last on Surfaces? (BBC article)
Coronavirus can persist on surfaces for days: study (Reuters)
Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 (NEJM Group)
Washing Guidelines (fabric):