Residential and retirement facilities across the country are limiting visitations to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, leaving residents to be increasingly isolated. But people are answering the call to brighten residents’ days with cards.
“If your children schools are closed and looking for something to keep them busy please consider having them write letters or color pictures and send the to our residents,” reads a Facebook post from St. Anthony’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rock Island, Illinois.
Similar requests have come from other facilities, a letter to the editor and even a celebrity.
The trend is catching on.
The story of a group of siblings who sent cards to nursing home residents made national news this week as more people are taking to social media to share their card-making projects:
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, are at an increased risk for complications due to COVID-19.
For those concerned the thoughtful mail could accidentally expose vulnerable residents to the virus, experts believe that risk is minimal.
The CDC has said there is likely very low risk of transmission of COVID-19 from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks “because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces.”
A new study did find a viable virus could be detected up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. But because of the nature of the experiment, the real-life risk is likely minimal.
“The paper that recently published, these are under ideal sort of experimental situations,” said Joseph Vinetz, a professor of medicine at Yale University and infectious disease researcher who was not affiliated with the study. “If somebody were to, say, cough … on a box or on a letter, the chances of that remaining viable for the period of time it’s in transit seems extremely unlikely.”
Contributing: N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Ryan Miller, USA TODAY.