Ask The Mayor: Can the Coronavirus Spread Through Food?

March 8, 2020, 12:00 PM HST · Updated March 8, 11:30 AM
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Background: Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. PC: C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin. Provided by: CDC/ C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin. Foreground: This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. PC: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM. Content provider: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS.

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions.

Q: Can the coronavirus spread through food?

A: Mahalo for your question. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is currently no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food, though, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety.

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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.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. Just remember to keep doing common sense actions throughout the day, including washing your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

For more information and other frequently asked questions on the coronavirus, please visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

General information and resources can also be found on the County of Maui’s website at https://www.mauicounty.gov/2370/COVID-19-Coronavirus-Information.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]

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