KSL INVESTIGATES

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.

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

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

Delric Ellington and Kael Ellington talk about a stray bullet that entered their Salt Lake City hom...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Amid increase in youth shooting deaths, Utah pediatricians push for tougher gun laws

The number of Utah children and teens killed by gunfire reached a record high in 2020, in part because of a spike in homicides. Two Utah pediatricians are calling on the state to pass what they see as solutions to the troubling trend.
2 days ago
Albee Bostrom and Sissy McDade turned their love of thrift store shopping into a business: Thrift H...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Second-hand shopping, selling surge as Utahns try to beat rising prices

Data shared with the KSL investigators shows Utahns are trying to bring in more money and reduce spending as they try to bust inflation.
2 days ago
Bry Hansen visits his son's grave in South Jordan. (Tanner Siegworth/KSL TV)...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

The number of Utah kids and teens dying by gunfire hit a record high in 2020

The state hit a devastating milestone in 2020, recording the highest-ever number of shooting deaths among Utahns 18 and younger.
2 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: What can you do if you pay someone to do work but they disappear with your money?

Imagine paying a deposit only to have them take your money and ghost you.
4 days ago
Photo illustration (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Your credit card can up your interest rate without telling you

If your credit card company raises your interest rate even just a little bit, it could have a significant impact on how long it takes you to get out of debt. A relatively new law means your credit card company can do just that and they do not even have to give you the heads up.
5 days ago
UDOT says it spend over $1.5 million on fixing potholes in the last fiscal year, FY 2022....
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Submitting a claim to the government for pothole damage? Good luck with that

A pothole can do serious and expensive damage to your car. But as Get Gephardt found, if you hit a bad spot on a Utah road, don’t expect the city or state to rush to pay for your repairs.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Gephardt: What You Should Know About COVID-19 And Cash