Is there a risk of transmission of COVID-19 during a delivery?

The question may have crossed your mind when you picked up a grocery order, a coffee when ordering a car or a pizza delivered: is the risk of contamination with COVID-19 important when you receive a food delivery?
If the chances of the virus being transmitted by the delivery person are slim, experts believe that a number of precautions can help minimize the risks and provide peace of mind.

During home delivery, for example, it is highly recommended to keep a good distance between the delivery person and you.

“You just have to ask him to leave the order at the door,” said a professor of food science at the University of Guelph Keith Warriner. You are more likely to be infected by one person than by a package. ”

Research published in a New England medical journal last week suggested that the virus can live up to 24 hours on cardboard, and even up to 72 hours on other types of surfaces, including plastic.

If there is a low probability that an infected person sneezed or coughed while handling the food order, the chances of the virus being transmitted through the package are slim, said Warriner.

He added that frequent hand washing, especially before or after handling the food and container, could also reduce the risks. Handling the pizza box should therefore not cause concern.

“When we talk about the survival of the virus, this is only one aspect. It must also be passed on, said Warriner. The risk is relatively low. You don’t have to worry about that. ”

As for auto ordering, there is also a slim chance that an infected person would have coughed or sneezed near your food or drink, noted Warriner.

If you’re worried, there are steps you can take once you get home, he said. Food or drink can be reheated and you can wash your hands before handling them.

“I think the risk is low,” said Jeff Kwong, associate director of the Center for Vaccines for Avoidable Diseases at the University of Toronto. They handle very little food before giving it to you. […] It’s probably safe. ”

Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University Jennifer Ronholm said that research results to answer these questions are just beginning to come in.

But like the other experts, she does not believe that there are significant risks.

“There is very little, if any, evidence that people are infected this way,” she said. If that were the case, we would probably have already discovered that it was a major means of transmission.

“With regard to the quantification of low risk, it is currently impossible to give an exact figure.”

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