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With another steep increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States, many states and localities are facing, or are back to, another lockdown to try to stem the free flow of infections. Scientists and health policy officials are also trying to counter the vast amount of disinformation that is being spread about the coronavirus and how it is spread. One debunked theory is that coronavirus can be easily spread via the exchange of cash currency.

Cash is Safe to Use

According to Dr. Neal Goldstein, Assistant Research Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University, “The likelihood of getting COVID-19 from touching money is extremely low.” 

In an article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dr. Goldstein states,“When we look at transmission patterns, they are happening from person to person. Surface transmission is really a negligible component of transmission of coronavirus, and the likelihood of getting COVID-19 from touching money is extremely low.”

COVID-19 Transmission

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that, “The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths). It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

Condemning Cash has Greater Repercussions

With leading researchers and scientists saying that cash is safe to use, it’s surprising that cash is still, falsely, getting a bad wrap. Dr. Goldstein is trying to debunk that false notion. “Some businesses are trying to pursue all cashless transactions but unfortunately that has a repercussion of discriminating against people that don’t have credit. To say they don’t want to take cash because of the virus, that’s an incorrect approach to take and the evidence doesn’t support that.”

With approximately 7.1 million U.S. households “unbanked” in 2019, it is vital that businesses not exclude the large swath of residents who don’t have access to a credit or debit card. Especially since the unbanked tended to be from “lower-income households, less-educated households, Black households, Hispanic households, American Indian or Alaska Native households, and working-age disabled households.”

By helping to spread the word that cash is safe – even during times of COVID-19 – we are ultimately creating a more perfect union where all citizens have access to a variety of payment options.