With the lifting of the “stay-at-home” orders, people are beginning to venture out into the doors of restaurants. Even before this, it is high time we got sick of cooking food. So, the question now is: Can I get COVID-19 from eating food prepared by other people?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Currently, there is no evidence to support [the] transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” The answer is brief and to-the-point but leaves much unanswered. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expands on this further, stating, “Foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses, like norovirus and hepatitis A, can make people ill through contaminated food. SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness.” Since the COVID-19 virus causes respiratory illness, it does not come from contaminated food.
In an interview with NPR, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine in the department of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, explains this further. He says, “The virus seems to be latching onto cells in the upper reaches of the nose, a place food doesn’t enter. …[any] virus that found its way into your gastrointestinal tract would be killed by the acid in your stomach.” The virus usually travels through droplets propelled by sneezing or coughing, meaning the virus travels in the respiratory system. Even in the unlikely event that someone with the virus sneezes on your food, the virus will die from your stomach acids.
It seems that there is no real danger in ordering food from restaurants. In fact, Colorado Times encourages all of its readers to go out and support local restaurants suffering from these unprecedented times. However, it is important to remember that while eating contaminated food does not put you at risk for the disease, staying with an ill person is likely to put you at risk. When choosing to eat in the restaurant, please make sure to wash your hands, keep ample distance from others, and keep proper manners when sneezing or coughing. The government has recommended that people do not gather in bars or cafeterias, especially with 50 or more people.
Colorado Times hopes we find you well during this time and look forward to a brighter tomorrow. Please remain safe and healthy without forgetting our local businesses and economy!