Can coronavirus survive on Amazon packages? What to know

Coronavirus can survive on surfaces for days, so what does that mean for the mail and food you get delivered to your door?

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Is it OK to grab the packages left on our doorsteps?

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The coronavirus can survive on some surfaces for nine or more days, so is it safe to touch the packages from Amazon and Walmart you've been ordering? Should you take a Clorox wipe or Lysol spray to the box or leave it outside for several days? Do you need to wear a face mask or gloves when opening your mail?

Right now, the answer is no to all of that, and here's why. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is very low risk for the coronavirus to spread from packages that have traveled over a period of days. The World Health Organization also notes that it's very unlikely for a package to be contaminated after being exposed to different conditions, and therefore the risk of a person contracting the virus from a package is considered low.

What about packages that arrive the same day, like food delivery services? Coronaviruses like the one going around now have been found to last on surfaces for up to nine days (RNA from the virus causing COVID-19 was found up to 17 days later). However, the current knowledge is that it's safe to order takeout and groceries. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there's no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food or packaging.

Read more: The best thermometer for cold and flu  

Watch this: Best practices for safe shopping, delivery and takeout in the age of coronavirus

It certainly won't hurt for you to take extra precautions at home if that's your preference. The most consistent advice we've seen is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after handling packages and their contents. If you'd like, you can also dispose of the packaging right away, and wash your hands again. Here's more information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

To further protect yourself from the coronavirus, here are 16 practical ways to help stay safe when going out in public, where to buy face masks online and what to do if you think you have the coronavirus.

Watch this: How to volunteer from home during the coronavirus pandemic
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.