New Research Confirms Cash is COVID-safe
A new study adds to the body of research from around the world confirming cash remains safe to use and poses a ‘very low’ risk of spreading COVID-19, supporting another recent study concluding the use of cards over cash ‘is not advisable’.
Published in the international journal Risk Analysis, the study is based around a contamination scenario in which a highly infectious person coughs on a banknote—creating a plume of respiratory droplets—and then passes it to another person. As is typical for such experiments, the chosen setup is a ‘worst case scenario’ that would occur rarely in the real world.
Despite the ideal conditions for transmission the experiment created (referred to as a ‘rare’ and ‘high-risk’ event in the paper) the researchers concluded that even cashiers who handle banknotes all day are posed with ‘a low risk to contract COVID-19 through exposure to SARS-CoV-2 via cash’.
The overall risk of transmission via banknotes between members of the general public with no protection is very low (much less than once every 39,000 days).
The researchers reference another paper examining the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 spreads via inanimate surfaces, agreeing that ‘these low risks… should be regarded as no more than a very minor component of this pandemic… Normal hygiene is all that is needed.’
Hardly any person will cough on a banknote when paying, therefore this risk estimate must actually be much lower than once per 39,000 days for the average citizen.