Answers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Is It Safe to Open That Amazon Package?


March 21, 2020 Tech By

Right now we’re doing all we can to distance ourselves from each other. That means staying inside and quite possibly ordering a lot more things online. But is it actually safe to touch and open a package that’s been delivered?

The short answer is: yes.

You’ll be happy to know that professional advice abounds, it is all in agreement that your mail is a very unlikely infection vector because coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets and so is mainly passed on from person-to-person interactions rather than surface contamination.

That’s what experts have told The Washington Post. Meanwhile, a Wired article cited a report where the researchers at the National Institutes of Health tested how long the coronavirus could survive on specific surfaces. They found that it could survive up to 24 hours on cardboard (though up to three days on plastic and stainless steel).

For its part, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website states that “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”; this is due to the virus’s poor survivability on various surfaces. “There is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.”

Nevertheless, it’s still a great idea to wash your hands right after you touch and open any package. Be safe.

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Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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