U.S. Postal Service Claims Mail Is Safe. A Study Found Coronavirus Can Live On Plastic For 3 Days.

Chris Menahan
Mar. 18, 2020

The US Postal Service is claiming mail is safe and "there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through the mail" even though a study from US researchers indicated the virus can live on plastic for 3 days and cardboard for over 24 hours.

The media is reporting their claims without proper context or skepticism.

From CBS News, "Can the coronavirus spread through the mail?":
Reports of postal workers testing positive for the novel coronavirus have raised concerns that the pathogen could live on letters and packages, potentially exposing people to infection just from opening their mail or Amazon packages. The U.S Postal Service's response: Don't worry about it.

"There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through the mail," the postal service said last weekend, alluding to the disease caused by the virus and citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization as its sources of information.

The federal agency, which employs about 500,000 people, is heeding recommendations from the CDC and public health departments, it added.

"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, traveled and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low," according to WHO.

"In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, 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," according to the CDC. "Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods."

One postal worker in Raleigh, Virginia, two USPS employees in White Plains, New York, and a worker at a USPS package-sorting facility outside of Seattle have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. USPS also said it is aware of an employee in New Orleans who may have contracted COVID-19.

But the "incident is not mail-related, and it has not been confirmed by the local public-health department," a spokesperson for the USPS' Dallas and Louisiana districts said Saturday in a statement.
If you're sheltering in place as you should be, getting the virus from the mail is just about the only risk you face.

A U.S. study, which was just expanded on, found the coronavirus can potentially live on plastic for 72 hours and cardboard for over 24 hours:

The public should be informed of this risk, especially considering it's elderly people who get the most mail.

Drop your mail into a cardboard box, wait at least 24 hours before opening it and wash your hands after touching it.

UPDATE, May 20, 2020: The CDC is now saying the coronavirus "does not spread easily" through surfaces.

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