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Paper products deemed safe by WHO, CDC

MARSHALL — Is my delivered newspaper safe from the COVID-19 disease?

According to experts, it has been deemed safe to receive packages such as newspapers, even from areas that have reported cases of COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization: “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, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

The Center for Disease Control also advised consumers that coronavirus had “a very low risk” of spreading on packages, newspapers, and other mail due to the “poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces.”

“Paper and cardboard are a very bad adherent for the virus — it can’t stay on there very long. The risk is very low with paper products,” said Cliff Chamberlain, circulation manager for the Marshall Independent. “It’s safe to read the paper.”

Chamberlain said he realizes many of the Independent’s subscribers are older and in a more vulnerable population, so “it’s a very real concern.”

To date, there are no COVID-19 cases in Lyon County, but Chamberlain said once there is, people will be even more concerned.

The newspaper carriers are being sent a letter addressing best safety practices for avoiding the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“We have 40 carriers running around town,” Chamberlain said. “We have provided plastic bags for the carriers to place the newspaper in and set on the steps so they don’t have to touch metal.”

Chamberlain said most people have their papers placed between the screen door and front door.

“Touching the paper is a low risk, but touching metal is higher — the virus stays on metal longer,” he said.

If the carrier doesn’t have gloves, the carrier should use the plastic bags for the newspaper.

“They can wear latex gloves or cotton gloves and wash them between rounds,” he said.

But it’s a low risk proposition for the customer.

“The carrier is not coming into contact with the driver, with any of our office people or with other customers,” Chamberlain said.

The Independent has received cancellations of the paper and others such as schools and restaurants have suspended the paper until the risk is over because there is no need for the paper currently.

Chamberlain advises people who are having products come into their homes to wipe everything down to minimize exposure.

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