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Verify: Can COVID-19 live on grocery bags?

Yes, grocery bags can technically carry COVID-19. But you shouldn't worry about it if you take proper precautions.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION: 

Can your grocery bags carry the coronavirus?

ANSWER: 

Yes, grocery bags can technically carry COVID-19. But as long as you’re taking the proper safety precautions, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

SOURCES:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Food and Drug Administration

Johns Hopkins Medicine

PROCESS:

While the coronavirus pandemic continues, so do the questions.

To answer whether grocery bags can carry the coronavirus, our Verify team went through the above sources and others to find the answer.

First, a reminder that experts say it’s possible to contract COVID-19 by touching an infected service, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Additionally, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine found the virus is viable for up to 72 hours on plastics. However, less than 0.1% of the virus remains after that, as noted by other experts. This means infection is unlikely.

"If we’re all maintaining those proper behaviors, meaning if the cashier is performing frequent hand sanitation, not touching his or her face, handing it off to you, who has also performed frequent hand sanitation, and then you take your groceries and put them in your car, you’ve virtually eliminated your risk at that point," ProMedica Dr. Brian Kaminski explained to WTOL.

To be safe, the FDA also suggests washing your hands with soap and water when you get back home from shopping and again after you put away your groceries.

Plus, Johns Hopkins Medicine says if you are using a reusable grocery bag, make sure to wash it or wipe it down with a disinfectant afterward.

Ultimately, we can verify: Yes, grocery bags can carry the coronavirus, but if you’re taking the right precautions, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.

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