What's The Risk of Getting COVID-19 From Mail

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose of transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 16, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. 

Darrin Miller asks: "You grab mail from a community mail room or a newspaper. What is the risk?"

The experts say contracting COVID-19 from mail is high-risk.

"So we do know that the virus can live for days on variety of fabrics, cardboard, metals, vinyl, vinyl, plastic and maybe rubber or even worse," said Dr. Mary Schmidt, president of Schmidt and Libby Health Advisory Group.

"Not only is the mail carrier coming in contact with the mail from the mail room," said Jason Farley, Infectious Diseases Nurse Practitioner, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "You should protect yourself by when you bring in the mail. You should wash your hands if you're doing it all in one sitting where you're bringing in the mail, opening it in and wash your washing your sanitizing your hands after you've opened your mail. Also, just keep in mind that any time you're if virus is on an envelope or plastic or something else and you set that on your counter, then you can be transferring virus from that fomite i.e. that inanimate object to another fomite, or inanimate object. And so you just want to clean that surface. Once you've completed that, in addition to your own hands."