NIH study prompts ways to protect yourself from packages during COVID-19
Odds are, you're probably picking up more items and having more packages delivered to your door. Do you know how to protect yourself from packages during COVID-19 and the 'new normal?'

That's what we're calling, right? A 'New Normal?' All this social distancing and mitigation and isolation...the jokes about people clearly not knowing how to wash their hands (or wipe their rears?) before COVID-19 turned the world upside down?

And whether you're in isolation or just staying at home unless you HAVE to go out, odds are you may be getting a lot more packages in your hands. Everything from food takeout to grocery pickup and even the lightning fast expectation that has been Amazon's claim to fame has slowed down due to the virus.

Aside from availability and speed when it comes to having things delivered, though, have you thought about the deliveries themselves?

The National Institutes of Health says you might want to.

The Food Packaging Forum is responsible for compiling scientific data from the United States and Europe. They look at the effects of the Novel Coronavirus on different surfaces, and advise caution when handling deliveries and food packaging.

Obviously, we'll continue to maintain that the best defense is a good offense, and we encourage you to do what you can to keep your health and immune system in TIP TOP shape to battle whatever comes at it.

Related: 8 Things You Need To Do RIGHT NOW To Fight COVID-19

The NIH study found that SARS-CoV-2 (or the virus formerly known as HCoV-19 and originating from Wuhan, China) can live on some surfaces for several days. The study looked at the decay rate of the virus in order to advise the public and health officials on how to handle food packaging and deliveries to their homes.

They found the following that the virus could last up to 72 hours (3 days) on stainless steel and plastic, though it starts to decay after 6.8 hours on plastic and 5.6 hours on stainless steel. Additionally, they found the virus could last up to 24 hours (1 day) on cardboard, though they couldn't give a time frame for the start of virus decay on the cardboard. Copper seemed to be the most resistant host, with the virus not being able to be found after 4 hours.

The research also suggested that the virus started to decay in aerosols after 1.2 hours.

So what does this mean for you, particularly when it comes to receiving deliveries or handling food packages? The Food Packaging Forum has some ideas on how to be safe with regard to such.

It's important to note that there is no evidence that infection can spread through packaging but since the world lives in an 'abundance of caution' state these days, they recommend that all packaging is washed immediately when it comes into your house. alternatively, they suggest transferring the packaged goods from the packaging to clean containers and then destroying the packaging.

For boxes and deliveries? They suggest possibly quarantining items for up to three days before opening and handling them.

They suggest this not just for things delivered, but things bought in stores too.

A Whole New World

Pete Myers is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences. He said that plastic is worse when it comes to holding on to the Coronavirus, and this may change the way we look at packaging in the future.

Related: Your Child Can Write Letters for Those in COVID-19 Isolation: Here's How!

We know that single-use plastics and disposables already expose us to more endocrine-disruptors, and that it's a good idea to move away from them in general anyway. And, this may be a great time to look at shopping local, buying local and supporting local farmers and ranchers who sell unpackaged food. Whenever possible, try to buy unpackaged food anyway, and opt for minimal packaging in delivery.

Together, we can make big differences in the fight against COVID-19 and for Mother Nature's overall health and welfare.