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How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Cardboard and Paper?
  by:  |  Apr 6, 2020

While most of us are doing our part to flatten the curve and keeping entertained at home, we can’t avoid going out to buy essentials or having packaged goods delivered to your address. Interaction with cardboard and paper is inevitable as you buy a carton of milk or go through the week’s round of mail. You’re probably wondering what precautions need to be taken once you’ve removed those gloves and taken the package inside your home.

The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Hospital Infections published studies that confirm how long the virus lasts on these materials. Here’s what you need to know to lessen the stress upon sorting through your grocery supplies and online retail orders.

The 24-Hour Window on Cardboard

Cardboard box

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health, University of California Los Angeles (UCLAA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Princeton University discovered in their The New England Journal of Medicine published study that COVID-19 lasts for up to 24 hours on cardboard. The study also found that no viable traces of the virus were measured by the end of the day-long period.

How Long Does COVID-19 Last on Paper?

Paper is another concern as we typically go through the mail and other important correspondences in our everyday lives. According to a study published in The Journal of Hospital Infections, the coronavirus persists on paper between 3 hours to 5 days. The larger the amount present, the longer it lasts on the paper surface.

Another study from The Lancet Global Health reports that “no infectious virus could be recovered from printing and tissue papers” after 3 hours in room temperature at 22°C and a 65% relative humidity.

We should note that the virus’ viability on these surfaces doesn’t have to be alarming. Cell biologist Carolyn Machamer, whose specialty is coronaviruses, emphasizes this in a John Hopkins University interview:

“What’s more important is the amount of the virus that remains. It’s less than 0.1% of the starting virus material. Infection is theoretically possible but unlikely at the levels remaining after a few days. People need to know this.”

She also explains that there’s a higher chance of getting infected through the air compared to surface contact.

Wash your hands

To prevent any potential spread, wash your hands after touching any material. It’s important to continue observing the following CDC guidelines for protection:

  1. Clean and disinfect all surfaces that have high contact. These include your light switches, tables, phones, keyboards, and sinks.
  2. Keep a distance of six feet between yourself and other people in public.
  3. Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water for 20 seconds after coming from a public place.
  4. Stay at home as much as possible, especially if you’re sick and get in touch with your doctor upon exhibiting symptoms.

Printing companies like UPrinting are following all the safety guidelines from the CDC and WHO. This ensures all printed materials arrive sanitized upon delivery to your doorstep. For more information on how we’re minimizing the spread, check out our COVID-19 FAQ page.

Looking for ready to print design templates on the proper safety and sanitation guidelines against COVID-19? Download any of these free design templates from the CDC. These poster designs cover everything from how to wash your hands, coronavirus symptoms, and other helpful information.

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Angela’s first love is food but her second love will always be the written word. She loves discovering new ways to tell stories and reads everything from YA to memoirs. Her time away from words is spent either with her three dogs or catching up on her favorite Netflix shows.