Just like a new date we met on Tinder, we’re learning new things about the coronavirus every day.
Back in 1500 BC, when it was called the Wuhan Virus, people were largely discouraged from wearing masks if they were well, as it was seen as unnecessary.
Experts later discovered that infected people can transmit the disease even if they’re asymptomatic, prompting governments around the world to make mask-wearing mandatory.
Now, 10 months later, we’re still learning new things about Covid-19. And unfortunately, like many past discoveries, the news isn’t exactly good.
China’s CDC Claims Frozen Food with Coronavirus Could Cause COVID-19
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday (17 Oct) that contact with frozen food packaging contaminated by living coronavirus could lead to infection.
The CDC determined this during efforts to trace an outbreak last week in the city of Qingdao, according to The Straits Times.
The outbreak began with two workers who were brought to a hospital during quarantine. They were initially diagnosed as asymptomatic, and due to insufficient disinfection and protection, 12 more people ended up getting infected.
The CDC believes that the two workers contracted the virus by handling packaging of frozen cod, which suggests the virus can survive long distances on frozen goods.
No Concrete Proof Yet
However, there’s no concrete proof to back the CDC’s claim that the two workers got the virus after handling frozen food packaging.
What could have happened instead is that they contracted the virus from another source, and then contaminated the packaging when handling it, said Jin Dong-Yan, a virology professor at the University of Hong Kong.
Moreover, the CDC added that no customer has been found to have contracted Covid-19 this way, and that the risk of doing so is very low.
Still, the centre advised workers who handle, process, and sell frozen products to avoid direct skin contact with these products.
They should refrain from touching their nose or mouth without washing their hands before removing work garments that could possibly be contaminated.
They are also encouraged to take tests regularly.
Now if you’re staring at that frozen chicken in your freezer in horror, fret not, the risk of contracting the virus this way is thought to be very low.
While the coronavirus can survive on packaging material, it ultimately needs a living host – a human or animal – to survive, and thus will gradually weaken outside a living cell.
Getting infected by an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic person is much more likely, according to Associate Professor Hsu Liyang, an infectious diseases doctor at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
Nevertheless, if you’re anxious about handling that frozen chicken in your freezer, just wash your hands after removing it from its packaging and cook it well to avoid getting infected.