Now that the State of California is officially on "Lockdown", many people are trying to figure out how to stay home and how to get everything delivered.
Although many California residents have been able to switch to various restaurant and grocery delivery services, the majority of us is still having a hard time figuring out how to handle the "sterilization" procedures for all the "incoming goods". How do you even order a pizza these days?
We have to wash our hands every time we come in contact with something that has been potentially contaminated, but in a practical sense, how do we go about doing it?
It is certainly a conundrum!
There are so many questions that come up. Is it safe to eat the food? What about cash tips? What needs to be disinfected? How? Of course there is a million points of view on the internet, but in reality, no one really knows exactly!
So here we are... Welcome to the 2020! (Everyone kept saying last year, "Oh, 2020 is going to be so much better!" I really don't know where they get their information, by people really need to start using better sources!)
But I digress... Back to the pizza delivery challenge... (Sorry, for another tangent, but have you ever thought that you would have to consult multiple experts before ordering a pizza? You have to admit, it is a little bit humorous!)
So what should we do?
Imagine you get some food delivered. If you come in contact with the person who is delivering your food or grocery items, try to keep a distance of at least 6 feet. My advice would be no cash tips or paper receipts. Hopefully, the service that you use will have better alternatives. Yes, may feel awkward and uncomfortable, but these are the times we live in. It's not easy, but we can still smile at each other and wave, it's a matter of being smart, not fearful.
I am going to compare our current situation to being at risk of exposure to glitter or cheetos (disclaimer: I love both), and if you have ever come across either one of those, you know exactly what I am talking about! Have you ever received a glittery holiday card or overindulged in Cheetos? You know that you had to keep washing your hands to get the glitter or the cheetos dust off - same is true now, we need to keep washing our hands - it is as if the whole out there, everything outside of your home, was covered with Cheetos and glitter! If you keep that in mind, it might help you figure out how to handle your deliveries, and especially the importance of washing your hands and keeping them clean.
So let's say your items have been delivered in bags or in a cardboard box. How would you unpack it if it was covered in glitter and you didn't want it in the house? I can tell you, the CDC does not have an answer! So you just have to use common sense.
Jokes aside, here is some information that you might find helpful.
From what we know as of right now, SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) can stay around on various surfaces for some time:
So be mindful of that.
Personally, I set my non-food deliveries aside to be opened later - for at least 24 hours or longer depending on the contents. You certainly don't want to wait for days when you are getting your food delivered - so for food and perishables, be prepared to do some extra handwashing and extra disinfecting, followed by more handwashing.
As far as the food itself, based on what we know now, you cannot contract the virus by eating something. We will know more over time, and I will continue sharing information with you if anything changes.
In the meantime keep washing your hands for at least 20 seconds after you touch anything from outside (or use 60%+ alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you don't have access to soap and water).
Hope this helps :)
Please stay safe!
- Dr. Danilychev
PS: Just for laughs: "Cheetos interrogation"
PPS: I miss Cheetos!
Dr. Maria Danilychev, M.D., is a San Diego based medical doctor with 20 years of experience and board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Hospice/Palliative Medicine, and as a Hospice Medical Director. Dr. Danilychev also conducts clinical trials and was one of the first responders during 9/11.