Of all the ways the coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives, our renewed focus on hygiene is one of the most obvious. Soaps, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are sold out everywhere, and nearly everyone is obsessively washing their hands multiple times a day.
Its understandable why. The coronavirus is a tricky particle that is far hardier than many of its viral cousins. Some folks are even resorting to methods like high-intensity UV lights to disinfect their possessions. Tap or click here to see how.
And now, new reports from the CDC show the virus was found on surfaces after a whopping 17 days. This means your delivery items are in need of much more rigorous disinfection so they’re safe to handle. We’ll show you how.
Diamond Princess offers new clues
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trace amounts of the SARS-COV2 virus were detected in cabins aboard the ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise ship, where hundreds of passengers became sick in late February.
CDC inspectors found traces of the virus in the cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic passengers 17 days after the ship had been evacuated, which means the viral particles appear to be much tougher than initially thought.
This discovery now has scientists re-evaluating their theories on the infections aboard the Diamond Princess. They now speculate many of the passengers and crew became sick from viral traces left behind from a previous voyage.
This would have potentially infected the crew members, who would have been asymptomatic during the incubation period and spread the disease to passengers on the second voyage, the one we’re all familiar with.
Needless to say, scientists will need to look deeper at the nature and structure of the virus to understand its effects better. In the meantime, this gives us more reason to be extra cautious when it comes to handling anything outside our homes — including delivery items and packages.
How can I protect myself from trace amounts of the virus outside?
One of the biggest reasons social isolation is so important to flattening the curve of infection is the fact that doing so keeps potentially infected people from spreading viral particles around.
And based on what we know now, even asymptomatic people can transmit this disease quite easily, and the virus can remain intact on any surface they touch or exhale on.
This includes ordinary things like doorknobs, guardrails, mailboxes, ATM screens and card readers. Tap or click here to see why contactless payments are a great way to protect yourself from germs on a PIN pad.
When venturing outside for essentials, wear nitrile gloves and avoid touching your face at all costs. When you are finished with your business, dispose of the gloves before stepping indoors and immediately wash your hands in warm water with soap for at least 30 seconds.
But what about my delieveries?
This is one of the trickiest parts of mitigating the spread of the virus. Since many of us are indoors, we’re relying on deliveries more than ever before. If you know how to clean your packages before bringing them inside, you will be much safer.
Follow these steps to make sure your packages are squeaky clean before moving them indoors:
- Put on gloves. Just like we mentioned above, use gloves any time you handle anything from outside your home.
- Wipe everything down with a disinfecting wipe. Not all wipes are created equal, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using chemicals proven to kill the virus. Tap or click here to see what chemicals are effective.
- Open the package and discard the box. Wipe down the item with disinfectant and put it in a safe area like a patio or balcony and let it sit for 1-3 days. Even if trace amounts of the virus still exist, they’ll be small enough in number that they won’t be a threat.
- If your item is perishable, disinfect the container and put it in the refrigerator immediately. Try to isolate it from other items in your fridge, wait 1-3 days, then wipe it down again before opening.
- If the item is a meal or something you need to eat immediately, sanitize the container it came in and use clean kitchen utensils to transfer the food to a clean plate or bowl. Discard the container immediately.
- WASH YOUR HANDS. Once you’re done with handling the item, keep your hands clean and prevent the further spread of germs within your home.
These steps may seem extreme, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you go over-the-top in protecting yourself and nothing happens, you might feel like you wasted your time. But if you don’t take the extra steps and wind up sick, you’ll be kicking yourself for not doing enough.
Taking the time out of your day to disinfect items will give you peace of mind as you go about your day. And during this time in history, peace of mind is something we could all use.