SAN DIEGO — Doctors and health officials continue to stress Americans face a low risk of contracting COVID-19. All confirmed cases in the U.S. have been people who recently returned from China or their immediate family members.

Still, there are some concerns whether you can get the virus through the mail or by touching products from China. The Centers for Disease Control said there have been no indications the virus has been imported on surfaces.

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“It’s a lesser chance that you can get from a surface versus if someone coughs or sneezes on you,” explained Dr. Abisola Olulade, M.D. at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.



Initially the CDC thought COVID-19 survived just a few hours on surfaces, but new researched published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection found the virus can survive between two hours and nine days depending on the type of surface and condition..

Packaging material, like cardboard, is porous so COVID-19 will survive for less time than a harder material.

‘We think the viruses just don’t survive long on [porous surfaces] as opposed to harder surfaces, but we don’t know that for certain. it’s still a low chance of getting infected that way,” said Olulade.

Researchers are still working to determine how temperature and humidity could affect the time frame. They hope to answer whether cold shipping conditions could prolong the survivability window.

Doctors and the CDC say there is a low risk of transmission through air in bubble wrap or other protective material. COVID-19 is typically spread through droplets from a cough or sneeze and then makes its way into the body when the next person touches their face or doesn’t wash their hands before eating.

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