COVID-19 Disinfecting daily Mail

Is anyone else disinfecting their daily mail and packages that they receive?

We leave stuff sit outside for hours. After handling, we wash our hands. We do not order much on amazon. Nancy50

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No, when I see our local postal delivery people, UPS, FedEx etc. start wearing PPE when they do our local daily deliveries, I will re-consider what I am currently doing which is to open mail and packages, throw away envelopes, and boxes and then thoroughly wash hands. What people do most likely depends on if they are in a Covid hot spot or not.

My prime guaranteed next day deliveries that arrive almost daily from Amazon are actually arriving on average 4-5 days after ordering so feel pretty certain that the virus is not on any items inside the box. Being very rural, I am highly dependent on Amazon.

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The risk is very low, but we are being careful.

We’ve decreased how quickly we retrieve those items, so we let packages sit for a day downstairs with our concierge (package room) and only get mail every other day. When bringing anything into the apartment, we are wiping down everything, packages, mail, and food deliveries, and will let non-food items sit for a day or two before handling.

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We are rural and are isolating ourselves, so we use Amazon way too much. We wear gloves to bring packages and mail into the entryway and then leave them downstairs for a couple of days before opening.

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We have a table set up that we put all packages on and we let sit for 24 hours. If there is plastic inside we let it sit for 5 days. We have very few cases on our island but always know that UPS, FedEx and USPS are touching all sorts of things on a constant basis so while it takes a certain amount of time to get to us, it could have been more recently touched on the outside on the way here.

Right now our home is a safe zone and I don’t want to worry about what we are touching in the house and touching our face etc. Everything is put into quarantine, washed or sprayed that comes into our house!

On that note, I just read an article on a lot of USPS, workers being sick. I’m sure it’s not just them.

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I leave it in the car for 3 days.

I also wait a day or two or five before opening mail.

Now, another question, and someone please point me to a more appropriate thread if it’s already been started. Air conditioning.

We are approaching the date when my apartment building here in Washington, DC switches from heat to ac. I thought the peak number of Covid-19 cases would be in mid-April, but yesterday the mayor indicated it would actually be in July, which is hard to believe. (I am still wanting to really confirm that peak number and peak hospital demand are the same, in her estimation.) A little editorializing on predictions: these models may mean 0, since we have close to 0 idea of who all is infected already.

All units have central air - incredible in a 100 year old plus building - and each owner of the unit (we’re a condo with a criminally low owner-occupancy rate) is responsible for maintaining and servicing their own unit. I have been wondering about virus transmissibility via the hvac systems. A semi thorough Internet tour tells me both that it can be and that it likely cannot be. Better to be safe, stupid and not sorry, than unsafe, stupid and sorry, is my motto today.

So, I’ve watched a few long videos that are incredibly boring on air temp, humidity, quality as it relates both to diversity of microorganisms and their infectivity. I’m learning the more humid, the better in terms of infectivity. Good news for me, as I adore tropical climates which DC can be in the summer. Watching one very boring vid, I learn that the Merv13 filters are the best. I am someone who hates to be cold and despise air conditioning, turning it on only when it’s about 92 degrees inside my apartment. Nevertheless, there are others who will use it, and one or two who will need to use it. What are everyone’s thoughts? I would really appreciate hearing from you!

Like everyone else, I put any mail, packages, or deliveries in my front hall for anywhere form 24 hours to five days. The only thing I opened right away was my Dexcom transmitter, because I wanted to use it. I wiped down the outer package, inner package, and transmitter about ten times with ethanol before feeling it was safe to put on my body.

As for apartments with shared air systems, I live in an apartment but it has no air conditioning and the heating is through a water system, so the only airflow that might be communal is when I turn on the bathroom or stove fans, which (to my knowledge) blow air outwards. I also run two HEPA filters for my allergies, which I think may help filter out viruses, although I don’t know for sure.

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So, CDC is warning about “poorly ventilated buildings.” Opening a window or creating positive pressure might help. We are doing that here. You could cover over vents that share air with other units. If you have your own furnace and air conditioning unit, that is best. Temperatures 70 degrees and higher will hurt the virus. You could purchase a window unit for your bedroom, now, before they are sold out, if your apartment allows those.

Our peak is scheduled for mid-May, but this could change (Minnesota). We will hit 60 degrees at some point this week - had an early Spring. But, up North and in the Dakotas they had snow this week, so its hard to generalize what the temps will be.

Washington has hot Julys. That might be a good time for your peak.

https://weatherspark.com/m/20957/7/Average-Weather-in-July-in-Washington-D.C.;-United-States

https://www.accuweather.com/en/health-wellness/experts-skeptical-that-warm-weather-will-slow-covid-19-outbreak/699704

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That’s a bit concerning. What does “poorly ventilated” mean? I did some laundry by hand yesterday (instead of going down to the shared laundry facility) and had my bathroom fan running for a couple hours to help them dry out. I’ll admit, I wondered briefly if it was safe. My understanding was that the virus was not truly airborne unless someone coughed/breathed near you.

Thankfully, BC seems to be flattening the curve, as the number of new cases each day stopped rising and has now started dropping off. Of course, it could still get worse again at any time. They are preparing for that, just in case.

My experience with HVAC systems in apartment building is that they are each a fully self contained system. But this is what I have seen in my years in the business in Tennessee, the ways of doing things may be different in other places.

Generally speaking, if each unit has its own air handling unit with its own blower and each unit has it own thermostat there is a good bet that you are not sharing air with your neighbor.

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As time goes on, we’ll hear more and more about edge cases, uncommon but possible vectors of transmission, as well as less-common side effects. As with the mail, the risk of transfer is quite low, but in this case we are not taking precautions yet.

We live in a large condo group, on the 8th floor and facing a common park-like courtyard, with individual heat and A/C units, but a common ventilation system. On the good side, we almost never hear or smell anything coming through the vents, and in colder periods like now, the building has a strong updraft pulling air up into the vents and not down. If we open our windows the vacuum is strong enough to make it hard to open the front door.

We open the windows several times a day, just to air things out, but haven’t done more. If we became concerned, I suppose we could cover the vents, but as mentioned, this form of transition is likely very rare. This is a virus, and not a bacteria, but I do not know if it could survive for long within a common heating/cooling system.

I believe they are learning that it is being caught airborne more than they knew? Hence the face masks recommendations. If someone even talks they emit a certain distance of viral particles.

Yes, but even then, they are more edge cases than core causes. Not that I am ignoring the possibility, as I’m just about to take a walk around our courtyard - a large landscaped area between the condo’s 2 buildings - and I will be wearing KN95 (not quite N95, but close) mask and maintaining the standard physical distance from people.

I did mention the ventilation concern to my spouse, so if we think it becomes a real possibility, we will cover the vents. Even then, sometimes the concern takes a little bit to build. When coronavirus first started, we were cavalier about the idea of flying, as most reports stated it only passed in the nearest area around someone effected. Quickly, that changed, and might in this case as well.

As an aside, as to the likelihood of contracting the virus, I was rethinking how this is a basically a socially transmitted disease. I was chatting with a coworker of Afro-Caribbean background and she knows 3 people that have died, all male, and knowing her, quite likely through her church. In contrast, we know of one person my spouse’s extended family that tested positive and is recovering, most likely acquired through his 20-year old son.

@mohe0001, thanks for replying. I would not say our building is “poorly ventilated.” What I am concerned about is the ventilation itself and whether or not it’s safe to use (an effort I’m making out of the perennial abundance of caution). Re: July being the peak. Here is where there’s potential confusion in the making, to my way of seeing things, which of course may be wrong. The mayor is using one model, which predicts a surge or peak in July, whereas the other models predict - get this, mid-April. That’s quite a divergence of opinion, wouldn’t you say? Basically, who the hell knows?
@Jen - I think the thinking now may be that the droplets can aerosolize simply by talking and even, egads, breathing. Hence the need for masks. It makes me appreciate how effective masks can be in small Asian cities with the people packed in. NYC could have really benefited from early masking.
@Stemwinder_Gary - I am far from an expert, but I think in general you’re correct, however, there are components of the system that are shared, as evidenced by the common - for lack of a better term - dumping point of some of the debris that’s circulated throughout the unit. I probably am talking out of turn, but I think water may be circulating to each unit, and it’s not like my hvac has its own private water supply.
@JamesIgoe - thanks! Yes, I keep at least one window open practically year round, and then they are almost all open now. In the summer I have a whole 'nother window opening scheme that I won’t bore you with now.

Seeing 50% of mask-wearing compliance on the streets of DC. Oh well, it’s only your future, people! Oh, and mine as well. [And, yikes, the Wharf today - bad news bears. This will surely be one of those hot-spot-generating events/days. Way to go, Washingtonians, way to go! https://www.tmz.com/2020/04/05/washington-dc-wharf-crowded-with-people-violating-social-distancing/

Crack the window to ensure extra air flow if your worried about it. It hangs in common areas for 3 hours (in the air).

This is very possible, hot water/chilled water systems are common. While this water is heated or chilled at a central location then circulated though out the building it is circulated within a closed loop system and you are not exposed to the water. Heating and cooling takes places via a heat exchanger coil. Water circulates within the coil and air from your apartment is circulated across the outside of the coil. This arrangement separates you from the actual water and is done for your safety.

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Here is one way all of our hvac units are connected, but I cannot satisfactorily link it to the possibility of viral transmission either way.

We have a central evaporator in our basement that works with the chiller system. The steel pipes in the risers generate particulate matter, which falls into the basement pipes and make it into the evaporator, which does have a filtering system but it cannot be so fine as to filter out all the material or else it would lose its efficiency. If the evaporator filled with material and could not pass water through as efficiently as normal this can lead to a rise in the temperature of the water in the chiller and result in warmer air coming into our units.

I’m with Gary on this. I think your fine. My friends have been living in a crappy apartment building with an active covid case attributed to another individual in the building. Its been a week now. She has asthma. They are both fine. They are near the U of MN campus and there are undergrads throwing keggers every day. The management posted a sign that there was a case in the building. They are exercising precautions when taking the dog out for walks. If you can’t put your mind at ease, I recommend living in your car for a while. But, by the very nature of your concern, I think that you are going to be fine. OPen another window if you want better air circulation. Hang in there.