Can I get coronavirus from a package? What an expert – and Amazon – recommend doing

News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Delivery services like Amazon have been crucial for many people as they shelter in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

But now cases of COVID-19 are cropping up at Amazon warehouses across the country. In one of the latest cases, an Amazon worker in Memphis tested positive for coronavirus. The employee was last on site March 21 and those who came in contact are in quarantine, the company said.

So what steps is Amazon taking? What steps can you take to keep your family healthy? And can the virus be spread through package deliveries?

On Monday, Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs, gave CNN’s Jake Tapper two specific recommendations for customers.

The first was to wipe down packages with disinfectant. The second, which may be more difficult depending on how perishable or badly-needed the items are, is to leave the packages outside for longer than the virus can survive. Experts believe the virus can only live on cardboard for 24 hours, so you can leave your package outside for a day before bringing it into your home.

On its website, Amazon defers to the World Health Organization for questions about the safety of receiving deliveries.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said it’s hard to know whether transmission through deliveries is likely. A person would have to put enough of the virus on a piece of cardboard to last days until it’s delivered.

Experts also recommend disposing of the packaging immediately after opening, and then washing your hands with soap.

“We don’t know at all if that’s necessary but it certainly should be sufficient,” Threlkeld said.

Amazon claims it’s increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning and adjusted practices to ensure social distancing, like staggering shifts and break times. The company also says it is giving all of its workers in quarantine two weeks’ pay. 

As for FedEx and UPS, they say they’ve increased their cleaning and stopped in-person signatures for most deliveries.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coronavirus COVID-19 videos

Mayor Kincannon speaks about her Safer at Home Order

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mayor Kincannon speaks about her Safer at Home Order"

White House expects 100K-240K virus-related deaths

Thumbnail for the video titled "White House expects 100K-240K virus-related deaths"

US warship captain seeks crew isolation as virus spreads

Thumbnail for the video titled "US warship captain seeks crew isolation as virus spreads"

New drive-thru testing site open in Greene County

Thumbnail for the video titled "New drive-thru testing site open in Greene County"

Coronavirus: Sevier County now offering COVID-19 testing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus: Sevier County now offering COVID-19 testing"

Lee: More information to be released on COVID-19 deaths

Thumbnail for the video titled "Lee: More information to be released on COVID-19 deaths"

Tracking Coronavirus: How a local grocery delivery driver is working to stay safe

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: How a local grocery delivery driver is working to stay safe"

Tracking Coronavirus: New health department rules for food trucks

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: New health department rules for food trucks"

Tracking Coronavirus: Masks -- who needs them, who doesn't

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: Masks -- who needs them, who doesn't"

Tracking Coronavirus: 2,200+ cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tracking Coronavirus: 2,200+ cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee"

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee talks about the 23 COVID-19 deaths and 2,239 coronavirus cases in Tennessee

Thumbnail for the video titled "Tennessee Governor Bill Lee talks about the 23 COVID-19 deaths and 2,239 coronavirus cases in Tennessee"

Knox County Health Departmentd daily briefing on March 31, 2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Knox County Health Departmentd daily briefing on March 31, 2020"

Ole Smoky Distillery donating housemade hand sanitizer to Sevier County Sheriff's Office

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ole Smoky Distillery donating housemade hand sanitizer to Sevier County Sheriff's Office"

Knox County utilities won’t be shut off for non-payment, Mayor Jacobs confirms

Thumbnail for the video titled "Knox County utilities won’t be shut off for non-payment, Mayor Jacobs confirms"

Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County cases up to 63

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County cases up to 63"

FDA approves plan for Ohio lab to sterilize thousands of masks for reuse

Thumbnail for the video titled "FDA approves plan for Ohio lab to sterilize thousands of masks for reuse"

Hawkins County mayor declares local emergency and safer at home directive

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hawkins County mayor declares local emergency and safer at home directive"

White House turns to statistical models for virus forecast

Thumbnail for the video titled "White House turns to statistical models for virus forecast"

Stranded cruise ship hit by virus begs Florida to dock

Thumbnail for the video titled "Stranded cruise ship hit by virus begs Florida to dock"

East TN businesses react to Gov. Lee's executive order

Thumbnail for the video titled "East TN businesses react to Gov. Lee's executive order"

Trending Stories

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter

Trending Stories