Is mail safe in the time of Coronavirus?
- Direct mail marketing
- Direct Mail
A few clients over the past week or so have asked me, is mail safe, given the circumstances that we now find ourselves. So we’ve considered the risks and how to mitigate them.
How long does it last on surfaces?
Currently the WHO states “It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses.”
A New England Journal of Medicine study found, the survival time of a similar on cardboard is thought to be around one day.
What are the risks?
While it is technically possible a package or mail coming to your house is contaminated with the virus picked up somewhere along the way by people handling or coughing on it. The infection risk is extremely low because it would have to come into contact with some one with the virus in the 24 hours prior to delivery, be transferred to the mail and survive.
Paper and cardboard are porous, so a droplet would probably penetrate into the material and may not be so easily picked up when you touch the package.
How to avoid the risks?
Shane O’Riordain, managing director of marketing, regulation and corporate affairs at the Royal Mail, says that the company is continuing to “follow the guidance of public health authorities. Public Health England guidance says there are no additional precautions needed for handling post or packages”
“This complements the highly publicised guidance from public health authorities for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.”
However, the WHO advice is “If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.”
Alternatively in the unlikely event that the virus is on your mail it will only survive for 24 hours, you could leave your mail to one side for a day before opening, or open it, read it and then wash your hands with soap and water.