Ask The Mayor: Packages Shipped From China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

March 8, 2020, 12:01 PM HST · Updated March 8, 11:25 AM
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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: Should we be concerned about packages or products shipped from China carrying the coronavirus?

A: There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. However, the Centers for Disease Control has answered this question to help alleviate some concerns people may have about products made in China or mailed delivered from the country.

According to the CDC, two other coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV). The virus that causes COVID-19 is more genetically related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are betacoronaviruses with their origins in bats.

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In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets.

Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

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 askthema[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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