Here's the Deal on Disinfecting Deliveries

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Nobody knows anything right now, and that's the most frustrating thing. We know that social distancing works, and that washing your hands takes 20 seconds, and that we need more ventilators and PPEs across the board, but the day-to-day questions about beating COVID-19 on a national and international scale are still somewhat murky. What should we do about paying rent? Who qualifies for unemployment now? And maybe most pressingly, how can we responsibly bring in supplies from the outside world?


Whether we're receiving packages through the mail or unpacking the groceries we just stocked up on, the question remains how safe we really are. Luckily, experts at the Food and Drug Administration have some evidence-based advice for us, and it's heartening. You probably do not need to wipe down cardboard boxes, plastic packaging, or other disposable surfaces from mail or your groceries. Coronavirus can live on these surfaces for 24 to 72 hours, it's true, but "can live" is different from "will transmit infection to humans."

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"There is no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19," according to the FDA's Frank Yiannas. "This virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission." So, keep washing your hands, maintaining six feet between you and the nearest person, and staying home. But if accepting deliveries has been keeping you up at night, you can rest a little easier to get through your day.