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Is it safe to touch your packages, mail during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The question is all over social media. Can the Coronavirus be on your letters and those packages dropped off at your doorstep?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — So who touched my mail? Could the virus be on it? Should I leave this package in my garage for a couple of days? Can the germs stick on an envelope?

We all have these kinda weird thoughts, but it's a good thing to ask because who wants to take a chance with COVID-19?

Dr. Payal Kohli, an expert on disease prevention, says your concerns are valid. Dr. Kohli trained at MIT and Harvard.

"It's important if you're handling any mail or packages that you're bringing into your home, that you sanitize the surface of those packages," she said, "and if you are going to leave them in your garage, make sure you wash your hands after you handle those packages." 

How do you sanitize your mail? Just use a Lysol or Clorox wipe. 

She says the latest data shows the virus can last on cardboard for 24 hours.

And those letters?  

"With respect to paper, it's hard to sanitize it very well," she explained, "but if you take a wipe and just kind of wipe the surface a little bit, that may be a reasonable thing to do. We don't believe it lasts on paper very long."

Dr. Kohli says the risk is "quite low" of the virus being transmitted to you from your mail.

However, she says, you get infected by touching the object and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. So whatever you choose to do with your mail, after you touch it, wash your hands. Rub them together for at least 20 seconds and don't forget to wash your thumbs, your skin under your rings and the area around your fingernails. 

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