Delivery/takeout during corona

Right now, I’m paranoid, and I don’t want to be. I’d like to be scientific. Over the weekend, we had to travel about 100 miles away for personal reasons, and then come back. We should have gotten lunch, but when I thought of takeaway sandwiches, and how much they would be handled, I chickened out, and waited until I got home for lunch, which was a few hours too late. Since then, I’ve seen a serious eats article that discussed how the virus was transmitted through our respiratory systems, which are not what we use to eat, so “consuming” the virus, if there was any present on the food, was an unlikely way to get sick. But that one article didn’t provide me much peace of mind. Anyone have anything else that they’ve found to ease their anxiety about doing takeout? Thanks!

I’m not anxious about takeaway/delivery. Nothing outside the home is risk free - although much is low risk.

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I agree with you somewhat, but I think my daily walks around the neighborhood are lower risk than eating food that was prepared and packaged by another person or group of people. You may be right Harters, but if there was ever a time to be a little extra cautious in the face of uncertainty, to me this seems like the time.

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To what end? If learning that it poses little danger doesn’t help you, you’re probably better off just preparing your own food for the time being.

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That’s what I’m trying to do, is learn that it poses little danger. I’ve seen one article so far. I’m trying to see what else there is out there that people have read and found to be compelling.

Scroll down to the section about COVID-10 and food.

The Serious Eats article is packed with links to the sources of its information. You can click through and read all them. It’s not so much one article as an aggregation of many articles.


Serious Eats is far from a reliable source of information. They are an advertising mill. They’ll write whatever they think will sell advertising. You might as well use dice or a Ouija board.

That said, take-out and delivery food is an unlikely source of infection. If a sick person coughs or sneezes on your food you could get sick. Risk is really small according to the academic sources I have read. You’re more likely to get sick from the person handing you the bag with food. I can get you footnotes if you like.

Why didn’t you pack your lunch for the trip?

When we had delivery last night, we took the food containers out of the outer bag, cleaned the handle on the door to the porch ( the delivery company already knew we were self isolating and the food was to be left in the porch). Then we washed hands, before serving up and really enjoying the food.

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Enough with this bullshit. The article Sasha refers to is compiled from many sources, including the NYTimes (which also accepts ads - the horror!), the FDA and the CDC. Who you think is pays for the stuff we read online - the journalism fairy?


I suggested it, but my companions didn’t want to. We were basically going to disassemble some furniture and bring it back. No one starved. The whole experience just underscored for me that I didn’t know enough about the risks (or lack thereof) of takeout food to feel comfortable partaking. Hence the quest to learn a little more. I didn’t know that about serious eats, but felt it, which is why I said that reading the article did little to address my anxiety. Mostly because I didn’t trust the source to be terribly scientific.

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I half scrolled through this article on my phone. But now that you’ve mentioned that it has significant scientific backing, I have pulled it up on my laptop and plan to read it more carefully from start to finish. Thanks for alerting me that it wasn’t fluff.

It is distressing especially given the fan base. sigh My adblocker counts ten times as many ads on SE as most sites including tracking cookies. That doesn’t include the content in articles that encourages readers to buy stuff. The article about what to buy for your kid to go to college is just one example. $2,000 of appliances that will trip circuit breakers throughout the dorm. Just insane.

It’s not, although it’s written in an accessible, conversational style that might give that impression. Anyone who wants to go further and find the same information written in more scholarly language can get there via the hyperlinks.


I, on the contrary, have been surprised how many people seem not to realize why “eating” the virus - even assuming it’s present on one’s food in significant numbers which itself requires something a stretch of the imagination - presents little if any risk. But then I also don’t understand why so many people need to be told not to touch their “faces” (which itself is a bit of an exaggeration, since you can’t get infected from virus particles on your forehead, cheeks, or chin) with unwashed hands when there’s a chance their hands are “contaminated” - whether it be with Covid-19 particles or the “mere” cold or flu viruses. Much less why they need to be told to wash their hands relatively frequently during (even just regular) cold & flu season, or when they’re going to be around people like those with pre-existing medical conditions or the frail elderly.

The only way “eating” “contaminated” food could infect you is enough of the virus particles remained in your mouth long enough to get a foothold there - which isn’t nearly as likely as when they get further up your nose than your nostrils (versus sinuses) or into your windpipe or further down. Even in our mouths, the relatively low pH and digestive enzymes start to denature them, and by the time they hit your stomach - which in healthy individuals is a very low pH (acidic) environment and holds all sorts of digestive enzymes and other substances - they’re basically history.

I don’t know if it will help or hurt to realize that we’re routinely exposed to many, many random bacteria and viruses that “could” conceivably cause illness, but various bodily functions prevent that in most instances. It’s only when we’re exposed to “the wrong amount of the wrong things in the wrong circumstances” that we get sick. And while that’s much more likely to happen with “novel” pathogens we haven’t been exposed to before like Covid-19, it’s still true that it takes more than just the slightest exposure to make you sick, unless you have some sort of predisposition to become infected by almost anything.

Which isn’t to say that Covid-19 shouldn’t be taken very seriously indeed. But in your example, I’d be much leerier of the face-to-face exposure involved in going into a crowded restaurant/store to buy (much less sit and eat) the food, than I’d be concerned about the food itself…


They must know I don’t have kids in college. I DO see ones for Geico, and some men’s shoes. I wonder what THAT means!

Hold on a sec…

Are these “companions” people you live with? Was the place where you disassembled the furniture outdoors? Did you disinfect the furniture before you started disaseembling it? Particularly if the answer to the first question - but any of them in descending order of importance - is no, do you not realize that the risk involved in doing that  was anywhere from “significantly higher” to "orders of magnitude higher" than any risk you might’ve faced eating “takeout food”, even if the food itself was “definitely” contaminated with a significant number of virus particles (which itself is rather unlikely in the overall scheme of things)?


I agree. Credible reporting (not media hacks) is that virus lasts surprisingly long on hard surfaces and not long at all on organics. No data to speak from but makes me think about the implications of Scotchguard and other fabric treatments.

I was thinking more about the “close quarters exposure to ‘strangers’ indoors for an extended period of time” involved, but almost any marginal risk is greater than the virtually non-existent risk posed by “eating” virus particles…

Put out your fire dude. I have a work apartment, sparsely furnished, and the lease ends in a couple of months. I took my husband and son to take apart and bring back to the real house some of the bigger stuff so that I didn’t have to (1) do it myself or (2) do it after the city was in lockdown mode.

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What “fire”? You’re the one who was “anxious” about a virtually non-existent risk of infection, not me…

Maybe this will help allay your concerns about exposure risks you haven’t specifically read about? The bottom line is basically: “avoid close-quarters contact with any people you can avoid”. There’s obviously no point in worrying about being around your family, since if one of you gets sick, the chances are good all of you will get sick. (And if you’re not in one of the high-risk groups, the odds are very high that none of you will get “dangerously” sick, so even that shouldn’t be quite  as anxiety-producing as the constant media barrage has many of us feeling.) As long as you keep your hands clean, the likelihood of being infected even from definitely-contaminated surfaces is minimal, and of course disinfecting any surfaces you can  disinfect also helps a great deal.

What you need to do is avoid significant exposure of your respiratory tract to the virus… the possibility of infection from mere “physical contact” with virus particles, much less ingesting them, is remote at best.