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Good Question: Can I get coronavirus through the mail?

Brennan Somers
Created: March 23, 2020 09:59 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A lot of people are working at home right now, but for others, the job goes on. That’s the case for postal workers and delivery drivers.

You've been sending News10NBC questions about them. A common concern: Is my mail safe to touch and open?

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There's no real reason to be concerned if everyone does the right thing. 

Every single day, mail carriers and delivery drivers touch countless envelopes and packages. So yes, it's conceivable some could be doing it while infected with COVID-19.

That's why tens of thousands of people have signed a petition asking the USPS to take more action to protect workers and customers.

The postal service says there's no evidence the coronavirus is being spread through the mail and told NBC's Today last week that it is not aware of any workers getting COVID-19 due to his or her work.

The USPS says it's following guidance and safety measures from the CDC and public health departments while operating during the outbreak.

Health experts say you don't need to take extra special steps while opening your mail, whether it's a letter or a package, as long as you keep washing your hands.

You can wipe down your mailbox if you wish, but since they aren't touched by many people, the concern about the virus spreading that way isn't high.

“There's no official CDC recommendation on whether you should be shopping online right now or not,” NBC investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen said during an interview on Today. “There are guidelines you should take if you are handling packages every time you're done handling your mail or package make sure you wash your hands. These are workers who are going to be working regardless — if you need to buy things or support a local business — it's okay you just need to take precautions to protect yourself.”

If you're checking your mail using rubber gloves, you may want to think twice about that.

Infectious disease experts stress the virus does not infect you through your skin. It happens through your respiratory tract.


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