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Your questions answered: Can Covid-19 be transmitted through paper and cardboard? Is my post safe?

Your questions answered: Is my post safe?

The life we lead today is very different to the one we did a few months back. With every action we are constantly having to ask ourselves, is there a risk of catching Covid-19 through this, and how can I reduce this risk?

Much attention has been given to the different everyday surfaces, and which retain the virus the most and therefore pose the greatest threat when we come into contact with them.

With shops closed and ecommerce playing a more important role than it ever has before, we think you’d all agree that at this time one material that we do handle more than ever is envelopes and postal packaging.

Whilst we would all recognise the incredible and essential role that our postal workers are playing at this time and we are so very grateful to them for all they do to keep things running smoothly, you can’t help wondering how many hands has my post been touched by and is it safe for me to touch?

And so we did our homework!

Transmission through paper and cardboard surfaces

In general, the risk of Covid-19 being transmitted from surfaces is relatively low, according to several of the world’s leading health organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Journal of Hospital Infection and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Further to this, WHO have stated:

“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperate is also low.”

Scientific research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), UCLA, and Princeton University also discovered that out of plastic, stainless steel and cardboard, coronavirus will last the shortest amount of time on cardboard and the longest on plastic, where it can last up to 72 hours.

When these surfaces are exposed to air, the length of time the virus can survive for is shortened even more as it becomes less potent, which will be the case with your post!

And another thing that will decrease the strength of the virus on paper surfaces is print, believe it or not! It appears than the ink and print involved in the printing process has a sterilising effect, meaning that the chances of getting infected through something like printed direct mail, for example, are actually “infinitesimal”, as confirmed by George Lomonossoff, virologist at the John Innes Centre, UK.


Liked this article? Keep in touch for more fascinating facts soon…