Halloween will be a lot different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But a new study from researchers in San Diego suggests there are ways to keep yourself from being infected by COVID-19 if you decide to go trick-or-treating.
What’s going on?
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and San Diego State University recently reviewed viral load data on Halloween candy handled by people infected with COVID-19.
- The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 can live on candy wrappers and surfaces.
- But washing your hands — and washing your candy — can reduce the risk significantly.
The researchers said interacting with people not wearing masks could cause the most risk, so it’s good too keep physical distance from people who are handling your candy before you get it.
Co-senior author Rob Knight, professor and director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego, explained that the risk can stay low if you practice good hygiene, according to SciTechDaily.
“The main takeaway is that, although the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by surfaces, including candy wrappers, is low, it can be reduced even further by washing your hands with soap before handling the candy and washing the candy with household dishwashing detergent afterward. The main risk is interacting with people without masks, so if you are sharing candy, be safe by putting it in dish where you can wave from 6 feet away.”
Staying safe on Halloween
The Utah Department of Health said people should “avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters, give out treats outdoors if possible, set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take, wash hands before handling treats, wear a mask, consider setting up a system to get candy to trick-or-treaters without any physical contact, and not give out anything homemade,” according to the Deseret News.
- “We don’t recommend having a Halloween party with people who don’t live in your home. If you want to have a Halloween party, keep it small and invite only immediate family members,” the department said. “You can lower the risk and make a Halloween party safer by taking precautions and using strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”