Could COVID Travel from Car Trunk into Main Car Area from Drive-Up?

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I do curbside/drive-up pick-up service from various businesses. I order on their app. They pack it and when I arrive to the store, they put it in my trunk. No contact. I never have to roll down my window even.

I let the groceries (non-refrigerated) or retail goods sit in the trunk for a day or two before removing them.

Wondering, though, if there are ways that the "air" in the trunk could get into the main parts of the car? Could it come through speakers? Are there passages that could allow the air to travel between the two places? If so, that could also bring into my airspace COVID particles, right?
 

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  • #2
atyy
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No, if the virus is on the outside of a package in your trunk, ordinarily it won't get into the air.
 
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  • #3
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I mostly thought that, but wondered about speakers. Visually, it looks like maybe there could be some "holes" or gaps where the car's rear speakers are located that the virus might "flow through" from a draft of air or something.
 
  • #4
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Suppose someone does repair in your crawlspace area and has COVID. They breathe it into the crawlspace air.

Would there be some way that that air (and COVID particles) travels back into your home and could become an issue?
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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Suppose someone does repair in your crawlspace area and has COVID. They breathe it into the crawlspace air.

Would there be some way that that air (and COVID particles) travels back into your home and could become an issue?
There shouldn't be. By nature a crawl space is outside the envelope of the house.
 
  • #6
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I know what is the verb "crawl", and the word "space". All together, what do they mean?. Are you talking about little children who crawls? Are there in danger? Sorry, I might be taking part where I shouldn't. I just want to improve my english and participate in the very interesting topics.
Greetings!
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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I know what is the verb "crawl", and the word "space". All together, what do they mean?. Are you talking about little children who crawls? Are there in danger? Sorry, I might be taking part where I shouldn't. I just want to improve my english and participate in the very interesting topics.
Greetings!
Welcome to PF!

It's the space under the floor of a house and above the ground. It might be 1m tall and accessible from outside or through a hatch.
 
  • #9
gleem
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Typically anyone working in a crawl space would/should wear a respirator of some kind because of the dust, fiberglass, mold, and animal droppings that might be present.
 
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  • #10
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Some cars have a ski hole:
 
  • #11
DaveC426913
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The trunk of a car is not hermetically sealed from the passenger compartment. There is air flow.

It's pretty simple to confirm. If you've ever had something aromatic (or smelly) in your trunk, you will shortly be able to smell it inside the car.

The question is not Can you get Covid from a trunk, the question is: Is the likelihood of it happening significantly higher than the baseline likelihood from simply being out in the world?


It's like taking a drive and worrying you might get hit by a meteorite but not worrying about collisions with other cars.
 
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  • #12
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Although a placing a gag on your kidnap victim will reduce the likelihood of transmission from the trunk
 
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  • #13
atyy
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I mostly thought that, but wondered about speakers. Visually, it looks like maybe there could be some "holes" or gaps where the car's rear speakers are located that the virus might "flow through" from a draft of air or something.
That's not relevant. Even if the package is next to you on the front seat, the virus on the surface of the package won't ordinarily get into the air. You would have to touch the package to get virus on your hand, then touch your face in such a way that you get it inside your nose (for example). The precautions to take are to not get too close to the person passing you the package (so that you don't inhale droplets that they exhale), wear a mask, and wash your hands before touching your face. Receiving packages in your trunk is very safe.

https://www.wired.com/story/its-time-to-talk-about-covid-19-and-surfaces-again/
 
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  • #14
berkeman
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To be as safe as you can, do this:
  • Before you drive there, spray the interior of your trunk with disinfectant. It's okay for it to stay a bit wet after you spray it.
  • After you pick up the items, drive a short distance away, then stop in a safe parking lot, open the trunk (wear an N95 mask that fits well and medical gloves), and spray the package in your trunk well.
  • Drive home and re-clean the package exterior before taking it inside.
I let the groceries (non-refrigerated) or retail goods sit in the trunk for a day or two before removing them.
Depending on the packaging, a day or two at room temperature may not be enough to disable the virus. Actively disinfect, give a minute or two, and call it done.
 
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  • #15
Evo
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Be cautious, be careful, follow the advice of health professionals and organizations. That is the best we can do right now. If you are worried or your health is in any way compromised, take extra preventative measures. We here on this forum cannot tell you what to do.
 
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  • #16
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I don't recall where I read this from (probably when I was researching mold a year or two ago), but some article said that 30% of the air in your crawlspace gets into your home. How?

There is a "change of air flow" (something like that - not sure of terminology) during various parts of the day. Hot air rises. Cool air falls. When the sun rises and sets, air flow changes. Allegedly, the air in our crawlspaces "exchanges" with the air inside our homes every single day. If this sounds like junk science, feel free to absolutely crush it. It may have been on a mold remediation website now that I think about it (which may have incentive to scare you).

My thought was the same with a car trunk. Maybe as the sun rises or sets there is some "shifting" of air in the trunk and hot air rises and "pushes" these COVID particles up with it. Then, if you have "openings" from your trunk into the car, then those particles could get into your main car area. From there, if it's floating around, it could enter your nostrils. As I'm typing this, admittedly, it sounds far-fetched and a low probability. :oldbiggrin: But, still, I'm just trying to envision a logical case for how it might happen.
 
  • #17
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The trunk of a car is not hermetically sealed from the passenger compartment. There is air flow.

It's pretty simple to confirm. If you've ever had something aromatic (or smelly) in your trunk, you will shortly be able to smell it inside the car.
Could it just be an older car with "leaks/openings" or a badly designed one, etc. I've driven two cars of my own and my parents' cars (along with rentals). I've never smelled anything from the trunk while inside the main car compartment. We've had food in the trunk before (maybe not the most smelly, though).

Intuitively, though, it does seem like most things wouldn't be hermetically sealed.

re: speakers in the back of car - I've placed towels and a shirt over them. :wink:
 
  • #18
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Depending on the packaging, a day or two at room temperature may not be enough to disable the virus. Actively disinfect, give a minute or two, and call it done.
Definitely. We all do that on top of leaving them in the trunk a few days. So, it's:
1.) Get curbside pick-up that goes into the trunk (with zero contact).
2.) Leave the stuff in there a couple of days.
3.) When we open it, wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes.

There are delivery apps where you can hire people even to shop for you and bring it to your house. They can put it in your garage, on your porch...even in your car trunk. That's an option for those who can "deal with that." If you have a car you don't drive every day, then you can have someone deliver stuff into your trunk and just let it sit there. Three days later, you can pop open the trunk (having never driven the car) and wipe stuff down and take it inside.
 
  • #19
DaveC426913
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My thought was the same with a car trunk. Maybe as the sun rises or sets there is some "shifting" of air in the trunk and hot air rises and "pushes" these COVID particles up with it.
Maybe you're overthinking it.

Suffice to say, the trunk is not hermetically sealed, either from the passenger compartment or from outside* and thus, there is certainly air movement, especially in a moving vehicle - and leave it at that.

*(in fact, I'll bet there's an industry regulation requiring trunks to not be air-tight for safety reasons)
 
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  • #20
256bits
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What does one do with takeout food?
Tell the delivery guy to put it in the trunk and leave it there for a couple of days before chow time?
 
  • #21
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What does one do with takeout food?
Tell the delivery guy to put it in the trunk and leave it there for a couple of days before chow time?
I don't order take-out. Home cooking baby!
 
  • #22
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Maybe you're overthinking it.

Suffice to say, the trunk is not hermetically sealed, either from the passenger compartment or from outside* and thus, there is certainly air movement, especially in a moving vehicle - and leave it at that.

*(in fact, I'll bet there's an industry regulation requiring trunks to not be air-tight for safety reasons)
Interesting. Why for safety reasons, out of curiosity?

I'm guessing the air flow, though, is still very minimal, no? Certainly you don't have rain seeping into the trunk. No gaps that big. I looked around my trunk and back seats. Don't see any gaps where air could enter. Just the speakers (which I covered with towel/clothes).
 
  • #23
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Maybe you're overthinking it.

Suffice to say, the trunk is not hermetically sealed, either from the passenger compartment or from outside* and thus, there is certainly air movement, especially in a moving vehicle - and leave it at that.

*(in fact, I'll bet there's an industry regulation requiring trunks to not be air-tight for safety reasons)
If the ventilation of the cabin is on, some air must be exhausted to make room for the volume of outside air (coming from bottom area of windshield).
That exhaust path is rear seat perimeter, trunk and trunk back-draft vent.

Please, see:
https://patents.google.com/patent/US6409591

Not having legs or wings, in order to find a healthy human, the virus must use and live within a droplet of human fluid, which could linger in the air if small enough.

That droplet can be anywhere an infected person has previously been, or carried away by wind, but you need a minimum or substantial load of those to be aspired to get sick.

In some cases, you get sick out of the weakened immune system that you develop after prolonged periods of fear.
There is no 100% safe place to hide, just wear an effective mask while outdoors, unless that is against your principles.
 
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