Original Post by: Vicky Nguyen and Scott Stump
The need for fast and sanitary deliveries has never been higher with more than 80 million Americans ordered to shelter at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The surge in deliveries, including more food deliveries as restaurants are closed across the country, has led to the question of whether people can contract COVID-19 from packages.
NBC consumer and investigative correspondent Vicky Nguyen provided some answers from health officials and leading delivery companies on TODAY Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the chances of getting coronavirus from delivered packages is likely very low.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found the virus was detectable for up to 24 hours on cardboard compared to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel. Researchers said no COVID-19 cases have been linked to contact with packages.
Infectious disease experts still recommend leaving packages outside for a day if possible.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Saturday that the company is taking increased safety measures to protect employees and the company’s 100 million customers from COVID-19 exposure.
“We’ve implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees and contractors at our sites around the world — everything from increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting our practices in fulfillment centers to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines,” Bezos wrote in an open letter on Amazon’s blog.
He also announced the company is hiring 100,000 additional employees, raising wages for hourly workers, ordering millions of protective face masks and offering any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 to have two weeks paid leave.
However, workers at some of the country’s top delivery companies have indicated that procedures may need improvement to keep everyone save from the illness.
“There’s no cleanliness at all, but we’re essential,” Philadelphia UPS worker Richard Hooker said. “No soap, no hand sanitizer.”
UPS said in a statement to NBC News that it has been disinfecting its facilities and vehicles daily, providing sanitizing supplies to all drivers and telling sick employees to stay home. Similar policies have also been in effect at FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.
UPS and FedEx have also stopped requiring in-person signatures for most package deliveries to follow social distancing guidelines.
Large grocery stores like Walmart and Target are also now offering customers the option of ordering online and then picking up their bags at the curb instead of having to go into the store.