Q: How should I handle mail during the pandemic?

A: There is a lot unknown about exactly how COVID-19 spreads, so it’s not definitively known if it can be spread through mail or packages. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is “unlikely” to be spread through mail, products or packaging. Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, are believed to primarily spread through respiratory droplets that spread from person to person. Although it might be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by “touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,...this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” according to the CDC.

Experts advise that whenever you handle mail or packaging, it’s probably safest to wash your hands immediately after, as you should do regularly throughout the day.

James Lloyd-Smith, who co-authored a study on SARS-CoV-2, told the New York Times that “the bottom line is that there is some hypothetical risk of viable viruses surviving on mail...but given the time periods involved, this seems like a pretty minimal risk to the general public.”

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