According to Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, there’s no way that coronavirus could infect a package and no reason to worry.
“In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” the CDC’s FAQ page says.
“Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of 2019-nCoV associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of 2019-nCoV in the United States associated with imported goods,” the CDC writes.
Keep in mind that there is more than one type of coronavirus. SARS, MERS and HCoV, for example, have been shown to live on “inanimate surfaces, including metal, glass and plastic, for as many as nine days, but can be disinfected within one minute,” as recently detailed in The Journal of Hospital Infection and reported on by Forbes.
The WHO, which says disinfection is as easy as “thoroughly cleaning environmental surfaces with water and detergent and applying commonly used hospital-level disinfectants (such as sodium hypochlorite).” And, again, that process can take just 60 seconds. The researchers added that they “expect a similar effect against the 2019-nCoV.”
But U.S. health officials have said that there is no evidence to support the transmission of the new coronavirus through imported goods.
“In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for Disease Control’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing.
To be sure, there isn’t research about the specific resiliency of this virus, because it is so new. But studies show that its cousin viruses, SARS and MERS, only live for few hours on the surface of an object. They are spread most often by respiratory droplets from one person to another.
On Monday, the CDC“We don’t know if this virus will behave in exactly the same way” as SARS and MERS, said Messonnier. “But there is no evidence to support transmissibility and there are no cases in the U.S. from imported goods.”