How safe is it to eat take-out?

“While COVID-19 is new to us, coronaviruses are not, and with all the studies done on these viruses, there has never been any information to implicate food-borne transmission,” says Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of medicine in the department of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is primarily spread via droplets expelled through coughing or sneezing, says William Schaffner. If you’re standing too close (within about 6 feet) to an infected person when the person coughs or sneezes, or even possibly when the person speaks or exhales, viral droplets could make their way to your nasal passages and mucous membranes. Or if you touch a surface with droplets on it and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, that could also lead to infection.

All this means that transmission via food is incredibly unlikely, say both professors Schaffner — unless you actually inhaled your food. “Even in the so unlikely scenario of virus through a sneeze or cough coming into contact with, say, a salad, that would enter the body through the throat,” William Schaffner says.