Can You Get the Coronavirus by Opening Your Mail?

Woman getting mail
Photo by Spectruminfo /

A Salt Lake City mother who does a lot of online shopping posed this query to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:

“I’m curious how long coronavirus lives on surfaces, and how we should be handling the mail.”

The question came up in a CNN/Facebook global town hall with Fauci — who in recent weeks has become the “public face” of the U.S. medical response to the coronavirus epidemic as a member of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force.

Fauci responded that, for the most part, the new coronavirus appears to remain on surfaces for no more than a couple of hours.

For that reason, he thinks it is very likely that by the time the mail gets to its recipient, any risk of infection will have passed.

So, you should be safe to open any mail you receive from Grandma, the IRS or anyone else.

Fauci emphasized that he didn’t want to downplay the importance of wiping down surfaces of things when it’s easy to do — such as disinfecting door handles and cellphones.

For details on how to do that properly, check out “5 Household Cleaners That Can Kill the Coronavirus” and “How to Disinfect Your Smartphone Without Damaging It.”

But Fauci added that such vigilance should have its limits.

“I think if you start thinking about money and mail and things like that, you can almost sort of immobilize yourself, which I don’t think is a good idea,” he concluded.

It is worth noting that some experts have speculated that the coronavirus may live for longer on surfaces than just a couple of hours.

For example, Dr. Margaret Harris of the World Health Organization told The Grocer website that since the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 appears to behave like other coronaviruses, it is possible that it “may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.”

So, if you have concerns about touching any surface — including the mail — be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with the surface.

More tips for preventing coronavirus infection

As the new coronavirus spreads across the nation, Americans are turning their lives upside down in an attempt to avoid becoming infected.

Because COVID-19 is new, many questions about the disease caused by the new coronavirus remain — which fuels more fear. The best way to calm such anxieties is to educate yourself about the risks, and then take steps to reduce them.

So, begin the learning process by checking out “What Everyone Should Know About Coronavirus Symptoms.”

You can also check out what is now one of the most popular stories in Money Talks News history: “7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile.”

How are you protecting yourself from the new coronavirus? Share your plan in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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