Can you catch the coronavirus from cash?

ByDann Cuellar WPVI logo
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Can you catch the coronavirus from cash?
Can you catch the coronavirus from handling cash? Experts weigh in.

PHILADELPHIA -- As officials work to contain the coronavirus, some are wondering, "Can you catch COVID-19 from handling cash?"

When you stop to think about it there are many, many hands and places that cash comes in contact with on a daily basis. And yes, the experts tell us what some of us might expect, diseases and viruses such as COVID-19 can be transmittable through, fomites: surfaces that have been handled by an infected person.

"Viruses will survive and there are viruses, in general, survive on surfaces different amounts of time," said Dr. Jonathan Stallkamp of Main Line Health.

And that would include a porous surface, such as cash.

RELATED: Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US

ABC News Correspondent Zachary Kiesch reports on how to prepare and protect yourself from the coronavirus.

"No I was not aware of that," said Esmeralda Jean Baptiste of Southwest Philadelphia.

"I mean it's already got me paranoid out here. I'm in here getting hand sanitizers and bleach, but I don't know maybe I gotta wear gloves, plastic gloves," said Sheree Marshall of West Philadelphia.

"Just makes me wanna use a debit card or credit card," said Mark Wheeler of Upper Darby.

It is why medical experts are urging people to take precautions.

"Money is always a concern. Hand washing is the most important thing after you handle money. Wash your hands," said Dr. Stallkamp.

"I say definitely tell people to wash their hands a lot, use hand sanitizer whenever you can, cover your mouth," said Vincent Anderson of West Philadelphia.

Of course, being cash-free won't work for everyone. Not everyone has a bank account, so some people need to pay with cash. The advice then is this: no matter what, if you've touched something, don't touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth, and wash your hands.

RELATED: Coronavirus News: What we know about COVID-19 - US map, prevention, cases

COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, which was when the first cases were reported.