Amidst the COVID19 outbreak, also known as Coronavirus, there is a surge of people working from home and practicing social-distancing.
As an attempt to do their part, we notice companies either closing or using only online platforms to conduct business. With an increasing amount of consumers making delivery purchases, there is a greater chance you’ll be in contact with more packaging than usual.
However, a big question remains unanswered – can the virus be transmitted through packaging?
In order to provide you with the answer to this question, we first have to fully understand the virus itself.
It’s an infectious disease which causes respiratory illness with flu=like symptoms. These symptoms include cough, fever and in more severe cases, pneumonia.
The virus is transmitted through contact with an infected person when they cough, sneeze and through droplets of saliva and discharge from the nose.
COVID19 can be fatal to children, the elderly, those with respiratory issues and immunocompromised systems. In order to reduce your risk of infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following;
- Clean hands frequently with alcohol-based hand sanitiser or soap and water
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
- Avoid close contact (at least 1 metre or 3 feet) with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
Nonetheless, as of March 11th, 2020, WHO declared COVID19 a pandemic due to its spread across multiple continents. As a result, in order to slow down the spread of the virus, governments are recommending citizens practice social distancing.
Social Distancing and Its Impact on Business
Social distancing involves the following steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with:
- Working from home when possible
- Avoiding non-essential trips to stores
- Limiting or cancelling group gatherings
Based on this, many businesses are either closing down temporarily or moving their operations to online platforms. Amidst this transition, we are noticing an increase of deliveries on behalf of restaurants, and e-commerce businesses such as Amazon.
With the increase of deliveries, there is also an increase in the amount of concern being raised from businesses and consumers regarding the transmission of the virus onto packaging.
Consequently, many institutions across the world are testing the lifespan of coronavirus on various surfaces. In fact, MIT Technology Review reports the most recent research on this issue.
MIT: Technology Review
Under the ownership of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Technology Review magazine currently provides a database of research papers related to COVID19 for researchers and the general public to access.
On March 11th, 2020, the magazine reported the results of a team of researchers from the National Institute of Health virology laboratory in Hamilton, Montana.
Within this experiment, the researchers tried spritzing the virus on 7 materials commonly found in homes to see how long it remained infectious.
During this experiment, the virus survived longest on plastic and stainless steel for as long as 3 days. Copper performed the best against the virus, with it only surviving 4 hours. The lab findings indicate it can also cling to cardboard boxes such as Amazon packages, or plastic cell-phone cases.
However, the bottom line suggests that there is no definitive proof the virus is actually spread via inanimate objects.MIT Technology Review
What Experts Are Saying
Likewise, Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, also provides similar results. The lifespan of the novel virus on any given surface is from several hours to couple of days. So there’s a possibility the virus can lurk on packages.
But the risks of transmission from a package is likely very low.Business Insider
If the risk of transmission from a package was very high, we’d be seeing an immediate global spread early in the outbreak. In fact, there are many factors that influence a virus’ lifespan on a surface. These factors include higher humidity, moderate temperatures, low wind, and a solid, non-porous surface which are all good for the survival of a coronavirus.
However, when we consider the shipping conditions of a package, it drastically reduces the survival rate of COVID19. This is because during the process of shipping, the environmental conditions are constantly changing which prevent the virus from growing.
According to WHO, there is a greater chance of transmission through sneezing and coughing.
The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.World Health Organization
Can You Contract COVID19 from Packaging?
Based on expert research and guidance, the risk of contracting COVID19 through a package is relatively low.
To be extra safe, we recommend consumers always clean their packages and surfaces with solutions containing 62% to 71% ethanol alcohol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite.
Moreover, here at LeKAC we understand that this situation is constantly evolving and it’s a strenuous period for everyone. Nonetheless, we recognize our corporate and social responsibility towards our clients. With excellent service and guidance from our in-house design specialists, we can provide your business with custom mailer boxes to keep up with online purchases. We also offer several price breaks and free upgrades based on your purchasing order!
Currently, we will be accommodating all existing and new clients via alternative means such as video calls and virtual meetings to ensure your safety. Contact us today for a free consultation!