Gephardt: What You Should Know About COVID-19 And Cash

Apr 24, 2020, 7:36 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

PROVO, Utah — Even before the novel coronavirus reared its ugly head, you might have thought a time or two about the possibility of handling money and how it could make you sick. Study after study has shown the cash in our wallets is just teeming with all sorts of microbes, bacteria and other gunk. Microbiologists have said COVID-19 could be among them.

“Anything that’s handled and not regularly cleaned is just full of germs,” said Julianne Grose, an associate professor with BYU’s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology. “So right now, the coronavirus could be on money. We don’t have evidence either way for it.”

But so far, the risk is tiny when compared to how the virus is mainly spread — sick people coughing or sneezing droplets of the virus into the air.

“We can detect COVID-19 on surfaces after they have been exposed, so it’s possible. How probable? Who knows? People should be far more concerned about direct contact (with the virus),” said Grose.

BYU Professor and Microbiologist Julianne Grose says while there is no peer-reviewed, scientific study, your cash could have COVID-19 on its surface.

Last month, a study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found the virus can live up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Researchers stopped short of testing the surfaces of cash or coin.

“So there’s no good, strong scientific studies to show that it’s on money or not,” Grose said. “It’s all a guess because we don’t have a good, peer-reviewed scientific study.”

Sure, being cautious with your cash is a great idea. You could set it aside for a couple days, or even let it sit out on your back porch and let the sun’s ultraviolet rays kill the virus.

“Absolutely, the good old sun is great at decontaminating things,” Grose added. “That’s what I do when get a box from Amazon or something – I leave it out in the sun.”

Your best bet is something we should be doing anyhow, regardless of a pandemic — washing our hands every time after handling money.

“They (viruses) have glycoproteins that if you can, think of them kind of like oils, right? Oils don’t like soap. Soap breaks down oils. That’s what happening to the virus, it is being broken down by soap. So, that’s why handwashing with soap and water is so powerful,” Grose said.

Credit or debit cards and payment apps will help you avoid touching dirty money, but they’re not perfect. Germs can build up on your plastic and smartphones too, so you should wipe those down often.

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

Americans spend millions of dollars on digital entertainment: movies, music, audiobooks, and e-book...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

What happens to your purchased digital movies, music and e-books when you die?

Americans spend millions of dollars on digital entertainment: movies, music, audiobooks, and e-books. But is any of it really ours to keep? It's a question a Hooper widow is tackling after losing access to her e-books, so she decided to Get Gephardt.

12 hours ago

(KSL TV)...

Matt Gephardt & Cimaron Neugebauer

Bountiful woman left without phone service or answers days after her husband dies

When you pay for a phone service, you expect it to work. But after being unable to make or receive calls despite reaching out to the provider multiple times to fix it – a Utah woman decided it was time to Get Gephardt.

5 days ago

Cami Johnson reported to police in 2017 that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by her ex-husba...

Daniella Rivera

Sexual assault survivor says delays in police investigation allowed perpetrator to attack a teenager

A Utah woman said delays in properly investigating her report of sexual assault allowed her perpetrator to remain free and attack a teenage girl more than a year later. The KSL Investigators examined the timeline of multiple investigations involving the same man.

5 days ago

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A ...

Matt Gephardt

How you can avoid holiday debt despite the pressure to spend

In the moment they feel like small purchases, right? An ornament here. A stocking stuffer there. A last-minute office gift. But all this can quickly add up to a financial holiday hangover. And perhaps it’s one you’re still feeling from the last holiday season.

5 days ago

After a yearlong fight for a copy of the Utah attorney general’s schedule, KSL’s attorneys have...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

KSL files motion seeking release of AG’s calendar in public records fight

After a yearlong fight for a copy of the Utah attorney general’s schedule, KSL’s attorneys have asked a judge to order the release of the records, without the case going to trial.

6 days ago

Man's picture with details about him...

Daniella Rivera

Sandy case highlights challenges tracking sex offenders who move across state lines

The KSL Investigators have been following the case of a convicted sex offender from California who moved into a Sandy neighborhood but did not show up on Utah's registry for nearly a year. Now, we don't know where he is, but we do know he's not a resident at the latest address he gave to authorities.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Gephardt: What You Should Know About COVID-19 And Cash