March 20, 2020
Just as, in Greek mythology, Pandora’s box represented a source of “great and unexpected troubles,” the packages delivered to us during the COVID-19 pandemic could arrive with an assortment of unexpected and extremely dangerous germs.
What to do? According to a report by The Huffington Post, whether it’s food delivery, groceries, or something ordered from Amazon, the packages that arrive now were put together at some other location—and passed through many hands before appearing at your doorstep.
Luckily, most delivery people just leave packages at the doorstep without actually interacting with customers. And food delivery services are already are doing that—or, at the very least, encouraging customers to request it (often in the “notes” or “special instructions” section of delivery apps).
However, there’s not as much to fear when you order a hot meal: The risk of transmission through food is very low, epidemiologist Stephen Morse told The Atlantic: “Cooked foods are unlikely to be a concern unless they get contaminated after cooking.”
The contact-free delivery is more for the delivery person’s safety than your own: They are particularly at risk, given how many people they interact with in a day.
So, if you’re ordering something for delivery, be sure that the person who drops it off doesn’t have to touch or interact too closely with you: Ask him or her to leave the package at the door and knock to notify you.
If you have a concierge where you live, practice social distancing when you pick up your package for both your sakes; thank them for their work. and make sure they have access to lots of hand sanitizer.
Also, consider opening the package outside. The virus can live on cardboard, but a new study suggests that it disintegrates quickly on cardboard, unlike plastic or steel. Still, to be careful, put the cardboard packaging in an outdoor recycling bin, and then wipe down the contents with disinfectant before taking them inside.
Finally, just keep washing those hands. Wash them before you pick your deliveries up, and afterward. Wash them for 20 seconds, many times a day.
Research contact: @HuffPost