It depends. The CDC says that the risk is low.
“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,” – Centers for Disease Control
However, studies have shown that the virus can last for several hours on cardboard. Imagine how many hands touch a letter before it lands in your mailbox, and that’s not accounting for the tongue that licked it closed!
Last week, I received a package from UPS and I could hear the delivery man coughing on my porch. Thanks, no thanks. So what should you do when you receive mail?
- If you can leave it in the mailbox or on the porch overnight, start there. If that’s not possible, go to step 2.
- Retrieve the package or letter while wearing gloves, or barring that, use a paper towel. If neither of those is an option, go to step 3.
- Bring the letter and/or package inside, open and discard the envelope/box and throw it away. Wipe the contents down with a Clorox wipe and finally, wash your hands!
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
Don’t think of your mail as personal correspondence. Think of it as coronavirus-covered missiles of death and destruction and take the necessary precautions.