Delivery drop boxes could be your best friend in the coronavirus quarantine. Package and food delivery is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity for millions of Americans ordered to stay inside.
But how easy is it to transmit the virus during a delivery? Companies like uber are taking it seriously, encouraging “No contact delivery” practices to slow the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus spreads most commonly through the air in a public or shared space, but it also stays on surfaces for days, surfaces like delivery packages. Delivery drop boxes give you the ability to receive essential deliveries, secure them with a lock, and wait until they are safe to unbox.
One way to protect yourself is simply unwrapping packages outside, then disinfecting the contents before bringing them inside. But for produce and restaurant delivery, wiping containers with a cleaning solution just isn’t realistic. Simply waiting out the virus’s lifetime on a surface may be the best option.
Having a mass of packages on your doorstep for any extended amount of time just isn’t an attractive idea though. It creates an opportunity for thieves, and perishables may go bad or be eaten by critters. Delivery drop boxes are somewhere you can store packages long enough for the surfaces to be free of coronavirus, and keep them safe in the meantime.
But is coronavirus in the food? Short answer – no. If you are getting food delivered, it’s not the food itself you need to worry about. Coronavirus is much more likely to spread from surfaces on the outside of the package or person to person than in the food.
The real challenge is making a box out of a material that won’t extend the lifetime of the virus. Coronavirus lives on cardboard for around 24 hours, and up to days on plastics and stainless steel. If it’s made from stainless steel, for example, the virus could jump from the cardboard onto the steel and live there for days. You will only have to wait longer to get to your packages than if you had left them out in the open.
A recent study by the NIH confirmed that the novel coronavirus behaves on surfaces similar to SARS. No conclusion is made in this NIH study on how long coronavirus lives on aluminum, but past studies on SARS can give us a good idea. SARS lasts from 2- 8 hours on aluminum, which is one of the lowest virus lifetimes of any surface. So this makes aluminum, or an aluminum alloy, the premier material for a package delivery box. You can get any cardboard package delivered, wait 24 hours, and confidently retrieve it. Combine the aluminum box with a sturdy lock and you have a storage area that will keep you and your packages safe in these trying times.