Fact vs. Fiction Part 2: Other ways you could contract the coronavirus

News 8 Now Investigates questions about how the coronavirus spreads

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– There is a lot of discussion about how long the virus can live on a surface and potentially infect someone. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found the virus could remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on some surfaces for days under certain conditions.

So what more could you be doing to stop the spread? You’re social distancing, staying at home, but when you do venture out are you prepared?

There are sometimes that you can’t help but leave your home, even just to grab the mail. Question 1: Can you get it from packages or letters?

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization agree the risk is low. The W.H.O. said the likelihood of an infected person contaminating the package is low. Then the risk of catching the virus from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low.

However, you should still wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer, after collecting the mail from a post office or home mailbox.

Question 2: What about if I order takeout or delivery?

It may be possible that someone could pick up the virus off a surface like a packing container and then touch their own mouth, nose or eyes, according to the CDC. But this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

“We definitely feel that is safe,” said Jen Rombalski, director of the La Crosse County Health Department, during a Wednesday news conference.

If you do order in, pay online or over the phone. Ask for a delivery without in-person contact when possible. Have the business leave the food in a safe spot outside your home. If that’s not possible, stay at least 6 feet away from the delivery person. Once you accept your delivery or bring home your takeout food, be sure to clean your hands.

Question 3: I’m going to the grocery store. Is my face covering effective in public?

Potentially. The CDC says the virus can be transmitted in close proximity through coughing, sneezing, even speaking. Those droplets can land in someone’s mouth or inhaled into the lungs.

“It’s an additional way to help protect you and to have you help protect others,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview on Face The Nation.

A study published in the journal ‘Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness’ looked at how effective homemade masks would be in preventing the spread of an airborne-transmissible disease. It found out of the household items researches tested, a pillowcase or 100% cotton t-shirt provided some of the highest filtration rates while still allowing the person to breathe.

You should wear a face-covering in any place where social distancing is hard to maintain.

Question 4: Am I covered if I also wear gloves?

Wearing Gloves

Courtesy of the World Health Organization.

No. The W.H.O. said you could still pick up the virus and spread it to your mouth, face, eyes, etc. Regularly washing your bare hands provides more protection.

Question 5: Do I need to do anything special once I get home with my groceries?

Nothing out of the ordinary. The Food and Drug Administration said there is no evidence that food or its packaging is transmitting COVID-19. But it is still possible.

For that reason, it’s important to follow four key steps of food safety– clean, separate, cook and chill. Clean everything you’re using to cook. Wash off fruits and vegetables under running water. Separate meat from other items when cooking and storing. Cook your food to the proper temperature. Refrigerate or freeze any food you don’t eat within two hours.

There’s a lot to keep track of when protecting yourself and family members. But following these tips can help you and others stay healthy.

News 8 Now Investigates is looking into the many rumors about the coronavirus and how it spreads. Go here to see other investigations into stimulus payments, military action and more.