Wednesday, May 12

Can You Get the Virus From a Surface?

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As lockdowns lift, many more Americans are going to come in contact with surfaces that other people have touched: doorknobs, tabletops, shopping bags and more. And I know that many people find these situations confusing.

One thing to understand is that merely touching virus particles isn’t enough to become infected. You probably have to touch many particles — and then touch your face. Objects that a small number of other people briefly touch, like groceries and shopping bags, seem to present a very small risk. That’s why I have stopped wiping down every object that comes into my house, as I was when the lockdown began.

In other virus developments:

The risk of transmission through packaging is slim (for the reasons I described above). Your best bet is contactless delivery, with advance electronic payment, which eliminates the risk of physical interaction for you and the delivery person. Just don’t forget to tip — and if you’re fortunate enough to still have your job, consider making it generous. Tips are down almost 80 percent since the pandemic began, one expert told The Times.

“Look at that,” Durham said as he watched security footage of the recent theft. “His gear is not even professional. If you’re a professional, you’re fully in black. He’s got jeans and Nike sneakers on.”

A correction: The introduction in yesterday’s newsletter incorrectly said four Minneapolis police officers were fired for their involvement in a fatal shooting; they were fired for their involvement in a fatal confrontation involving a chokehold.

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