Fear of possible COVID-19 transmission via newspapers has amounted to a drop in newspaper circulation figures.
April 17, 2020
Sashi Mandya, a newspaper vendor said, “Initially it started with one or two dropping off the list. Seeing each other almost all of them—almost 80 per cent have asked me not to deliver the newspapers to their homes.”
Newspaper circulation has been hit due to the fear of virus transmission via newspapers among the people.
People have collectively joined against letting the newspaper hawkers or vendors to deliver newspapers at their doorsteps.
Sashi is disheartened by the falling sales. He informed that the depot from where he collects the newspaper sold 16,000-17,000 copies per day. Now only 4000-5000 copies get sold.
Mere sanitization of newspapers cannot stop the spread of the virus. Modern-day technology is completely automated; right from printing to packaging, everything remains untouched by hands. But what happens when it gets into the hands of the newspaper hawkers or distributors? Newspapers are transferred from one person to another and bear risk of transmitting the microbes through this circulation.
Sandeep Jain, an online news consumer, said, “Production might be automated but the distribution is manual, from newspaper sale on footpaths to tossing them over the fence to the readers, the delivery guys could be infected. It is better to switch to online news.”
While news reports claim that “Survivability of the virus on cardboard surfaces is quite low as compared to metal or steel. Hence there is no chance of the spread of the via newspapers.”
However, World Health Organization (WHO) says that dirty banknotes may be spreading the coronavirus.
Dr. Shikha Panwar, HOD & Associate Director at Centre for Critical Care at Sarvodaya Hospital, Faridabad, informed about the role fomites play in spreading the virus. She said, “A fomite is an inanimate object, to which virus gets attached. For example, newspapers hawkers give the newspaper, we read it, the virus can be attached to the newspaper. So, the newspaper will act as a fomite. We need to keep away from the fomites.”
United States’ Centre for Disease Control (CDC) claimed that there is a possibility of a person getting COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has a virus on it and then touching their nose, mouth, or eyes.
National Institute of Health has conducted studies that show the survivability of SARS-CoV-2—that causes COVID-19 disease. The study thereby hints a possibility of people acquiring the virus through the air or after touching a contaminated object.
However, the center has asked the state to ensure that the newspaper operations work fine as people have to be updated with the current status and the latest information.