Can coronavirus linger on Amazon packages?

A study published last week found that COVID-19 can live in the air for several hours and on cardboard for 24 hours

After an Amazon warehouse employee in New York tested positive for the new coronavirus, people are wondering if their packages could be carrying the virus.

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The U.S. government and other scientists published a study last week, which found that COVID-19 can live in the air for several hours and on cardboard for 24 hours, leaving some Amazon customers worried about bringing packages inside.

"For cardboard, I've been actually opening my packages outside," Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier said Thursday on "Mornings with Maria." "I take scissors, I open it, and I empty the package outside. The cardboard never actually comes into our house."

She added that the best thing families can do is "pretend that everything has the virus on it," adding, "If you treat it that way, you're going to give you and your family the best bet of not bringing it into your home."

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The tech giant confirmed on Thursday that it was closing and sanitizing the New York facility where the COVID-19-positive employee was working.

"We are supporting the individual who is now in quarantine. Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with local authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and we’re following all guidelines from local officials about the operations of our buildings," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

Steven Smith places packages onto a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

"We have implemented proactive measures to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance, and adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries. In addition to our enhanced daily deep cleaning, we temporarily closed the Queens delivery station for additional sanitation and sent associates home with full pay," the spokesperson added.

Saphire said most cases appear to come from person-to-person contact, but contracting the virus due to contact with the virus on an inanimate object and even in the air could be possible.

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"The reason we're seeing [an increase in] cases is likely because they believe it's not only respiratory transmission, but it's starting to aerosolize, which is why so many health care workers are getting it because it stays in the air longer," Saphire said.

"Let's just treat it like it's everywhere," she added.

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