As many Americans shop for supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak, concerns have circulated about whether handling cash could contribute to the spread of the virus. Some outlets reported that you should use contactless payment methods instead of paper money.
Cash is notoriously covered in germs; studies suggest that paper bills can contain bacteria and viruses, plus lead to the spread of disease. The lifespan of various bills ranges four to 15 years, according to the Federal Reserve, meaning your bills have a lot of time to accumulate germs.
And in China, where there are more than 80,500 cases of COVID-19, banks began disinfecting cash with ultraviolet or heat treatments in February to prevent the further spread of the virus.
So what is the reality when it comes to COVID-19 and cash?
Despite reports that the World Health Organization was pushing people to use contactless payments, a spokesperson for the WHO tells CNBC Make It it has not issued any warnings or statements about the use of cash. Instead, it reiterated that you should wash your hands, including after handling money, especially if you’re eating or touching food.
For starters, COVID-19 doesn’t spread by penetrating the skin on your hands, Michael Knight, assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, tells CNBC Make It.
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