Christmas cards, a touching sentimental gesture of kindness, sure to bring heart-warming smiles to many families this year who have been forced apart by COVID-19 restrictions. For many it will be the only gateway to relay Christmas messages and disperse Christmas joy. With infection rates rapidly increasing day in and day out with recent figures recorded on the 30th November 2020 that there were a confirmed amount of cases exceeding 1 million, this may arise some questions. Mainly the matter of the consequences of sending Christmas cards to loved ones. Would it put them at risk and contribute towards the spreading of the virus?

Fear not! The risk of spreading Covid-19 by sending Christmas cards is ‘low’ as declared by academic Julian Tang. Dr Tang, an honorary associate professor at the university of Leicester has advised that smaller sized objects like cards might have the possible potential to carry the virus and only pose a ‘minimal risk’ of infection. However, Dr Tang said that people ‘with concerns should wash their hands after opening cards and avoid touching their mouths, eyes or noses to reduce the chances of infection further.’ He states that ‘Epidemiologically, we know that this virus does not transmit much via surfaces, so the risk of infection remains minimal – especially given the journey the card has to take through the postal system.’ Dr Tang adds that ‘the successful transfer and infection of SARS-CoV-2 via this route is generally poor but if people are worried just wash your hands after opening cards, before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.’ In addition to this, Respiratory medicine specialist Professor Ashley Woodcock, an Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the university of Manchester, explained to the ‘Express and Star’ that people could wear gloves when opening cards - and disinfect gifts.

He mentions that if he were part of the elderly bracket of society he would ‘be handling Christmas cards with gloves and putting them on a radiator for a few minutes.’ He added that for receiving gifts he thinks that it would be best for people to ‘have a bucket with detergent in’ and use accordingly with a pair of gloves. He reiterates that people, in particular the elderly ‘should accept the parcel wearing Marigolds (gloves) and put it in an area or on a table, and wipe it down with a cloth soaked in detergent, leave it for 30 minutes, and then it’s very safe.”

Dr Lena Ceric, a specialist in antimicrobial resistance, also said that people should send cards and presents early so those receiving them can leave them for a few days so that any small risk of transmission is eliminated.

It’s safe to say that this Christmas will be like no other but what we can do to keep safe and spread Christmas cheer is to take the necessary precautions that keep families and especially our elderly safe!