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Can you get coronavirus from handling money?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Handling money

Concerns over coronavirus have created intense swings in financial markets, but can the cash in your wallet, which passes between people, cause a problem?

Some people even lick their fingers as they comb through bills. Viewers from Plymouth to Grosse Pointe have asked: Can you get coronavirus from handling money?

The answer is we don’t know, but it’s worth thinking about. Since mid-February, the Bank of China has been either destroying bills or disinfecting their cash with ultraviolet light and high temperatures, then storing it for seven to 14 days before releasing it back into circulation. That’s based on studies that have shown bacteria and viruses can survive on money.

There is no study that shows the COVID-19 virus can survive on cash, however, an unidentified representative from the World Health Organization reportedly told a British newspaper that cash could be contributing to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The U.S. Treasury hasn’t made any statement about currency and the coronavirus.

Until this issue is properly studied, you should take a common sense approach. Where possible, use cashless options. When you do handle cash, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward, especially if you’re about to handle food.

The common threat to all of these recommendations is good hygiene. Anytime someone interacts with other people or publicly shared items, they should remain aware of the contact and avoid contaminating the eyes, nose and mouth, in particular.


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