Op-ed: Risk of COVID-19 exposure from packages is ‘small and manageable’

The risk of being exposed to COVID-19 from a delivered package, restaurant takeout, or groceries from the market is low, according to Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In a March 26, 2020, op-ed in the Washington Post, Allen examined the “causal chain,” or series of events, that would need to exist in order for someone to become sick from handling a package. Allen noted that while recent research has shown that the virus can be detected on some surfaces for up to a day, “the reality is that the levels drop off quickly.”

Allen emphasized that people should remain vigilant about washing their hands, and, when shopping, keep six feet from other customers and store employees.

“If you take basic precautions, including washing your hands frequently, the danger from accepting a package from a delivery driver or from takeout from a local restaurant or from buying groceries is de minimis,” he wrote. “That’s a scientific way of saying, ‘The risks are small, and manageable.’”

Read the Washington Post article: Don’t panic about shopping, getting delivery or accepting packages