Publisher Waters discusses newsprint and coronavirus

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Recently, a few local Daily Sentinel readers have questioned whether coronavirus can live on newsprint and transmit to humans. There shouldn’t be a reason to worry though, officials said, as scientists say the virus lives longer on hard surfaces than on softer materials.

“The researchers say that porous surfaces like hair, fabric and paper don’t allow viruses to survive very long....and also that because (of) the small spaces or holes in them, these surfaces trap the microbe and typically prevent its transfer,” Daily Sentinel Publisher Bradley Waters said, referencing studies on the subject.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” But, the CDC further notes that the primary transmission is so far found to be by close personal contact and through respiratory droplets.

With this in mind, the World Health Organization spoke to whether it was safe to receive a package from an area where coronavirus was reported: “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low.”

According to a recent study from the National Institutes of Health, it was found that, “The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects.”

In addressing production concerns, Waters said, “We have about 25% of our staff working from home and all distribution staff wear gloves. We have 35 people working in a 25,000 square foot building which makes it easy for us to practice social distancing.”

Adding more on the production phase of newsprint Waters said: “Because newspaper is typically treated when it is produced it tends to be cleaner than other materials as germs are typically killed in the production phase and not reintroduced in the printing phase.”

If anyone has additional questions, they may contact the Daily Sentinel at 315-337-4000.

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