The question everyone wants answered: Can you get coronavirus from deliveries?
With a few smart precautions, you can make your deliveries safe. First, just pretend that every package or order was packaged and delivered by someone coughing coronavirus onto your goods. Gross. But manageable!
New research from the NIH—so new that it’s not yet peer-reviewed—shows that COVID-19 lives for 24 hours on cardboard and 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. This is great news for nonperishable deliveries. It means that if you simply let cardboard-packaged items sit for 24 hours before you touch them, and plastic packaging sit for 72 hours, you are safe.
For perishables, simply put the items directly in your refrigerator (not on your tables and counters! not hugged against your clothes! not touched by three family members!), and then thoroughly wash your hands. If you can, remove outer packaging and throw it directly in the trash before placing items in your refrigerator. Wash any surfaces that have been touched by grocery bags or packaging.
Bonus points for having the delivery left at your door—ideally for 3 hours—which negates the possibility of accidental airborne transmission. The same study finds that COVID-19 lives for 3 hours as an aerosol.
Deliveries are definitely gearing up during the pandemic: Amazon is hiring 100,000 new delivery and supply chain staff. It’s a high-risk job these days, so remember to leave a tip.
Public officials have yet to offer official advice on safe deliveries. Memo to public health folks: We would love official guidance on grocery and food deliveries, soon. Thanks, you’re the best.