The facts on spreading COVID through paper and cardboard

Paper and cardboard carry the lowest potency for the shortest time period

"The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low... 

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And the risk of catching the virus that caused COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperate is also low."

The World Health Organisation, 2020

Since paper and card are very physical mediums, concerns around how the virus can be spread through touching or handling mail, magazines and paper packaging still remain.

Two Sides, an initiative set up to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper, have published this very interesting factsheets that answers some of concerns many of us still have regarding how the surfaces of everyday items we handle may carry and transmit COVID.

The pull out findings include:

How long could the virus be detected on different surfaces?

  • Aerosols - up to 3 hours
  • Copper - up to 4 hours
  • Cardboard - up to 24 hours
  • Plastic and stainless steel - 2-3 days
The manufacturing conditions of paper, plus the printing and distribution processes significantly decreases the amount of viable particles required to infect someone.
The virus last longest on smooth, non porous surfaces. Since Paper and cardboard are porous, they carry the lowest potency for the shortest time period.

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