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Coronavirus Transmission Through Cardboard

During unprecedented times such as this, it has become imperative to not only wash your hands, but to be wary of what you touch. There has been a greater focus recently on the spread of Covid-19 and how it can be reduced. Corrugated packaging is a physical medium and with more people currently shopping online as they are not able to go into stores, there is a higher likelihood of your packages being sent in boxes.

Initial studies of whether Covid-19 is able to stay on surfaces such as cardboard, have demonstrated that it is unlikely the virus can exist for very long. Reducing chances of whether people are able to catch coronavirus simply by touching board.

Fortunately, it seems that transmission of the disease via a cardboard package is relatively low. There has been research conducted by the world’s leading health organisations, including World Health Organisation (WHO) who have said “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperate is also low.”

A study has come from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which studied how stable the coronavirus was on different surfaces and found that the virus lasted for the shortest amount of time on cardboard (up to 24 hours). The virus becomes even less potent when exposed to air and then even more so if the cardboard goes through any printing process.

The production process from paper to box is likely to significantly decrease the number of viable particles required to infect someone. Corrugated packaging is not believed to be a good surface for the virus to exist. The researchers found that the coronavirus lasts longest on smooth, non-porous surfaces such as plastic. Since paper and cardboard are porous, they carry the lowest potency for the shortest period.

International News Media Association (inma), 2020
Aerosol and Surface Stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1, 2020
Interview with BBC Radio Scotland, March 2020

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