'Whether healthy or sick, please don't lick': Washington state urges voters to avoid licking the envelopes of mail-in ballots amid coronavirus outbreak

REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File PhotoCoronavirus can be transmitted between people so precautionary measures are advised.
  • Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Washington state voters are being asked not to lick the envelopes that contain their mail-in ballots for the March 10 primary election.
  • On Twitter, Secretary of State Kim Wyman appealed to people with a catchy slogan: “Whether healthy or sick, please don’t lick!”
  • People are encouraged to use “alternative methods” like a wet sponge or cloth.
  • Of the 150 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States, 39 are in Washington, making it the worst hit state. Ten residents have died as of Wednesday.
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Health officials in Washington are asking people to break from the habit of sealing an envelope by licking it. Particularly, ahead of the March 10 primary.

The state has been the worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak in the United States: 39 people have been infected and 10 are dead, as of Thursday. An estimated 150 people are sick nationwide.

Washington’s Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Wednesday evening shared advice from the Department of Health on Twitter, urging people to use “alternative methods” to seal their mail-in ballots. The post even included a cute slogan: “Whether healthy or sick, please don’t lick!”

Some people responded by saying that the advice was “too late,” while Stephen Nuchia shared a photo of his pet dog, Jax, who could presumably help lick envelopes shut.

Kylee Zabel, a spokesperson for Wyman, told CNN that poll workers should also take precautionary measures, including wearing gloves while opening envelopes.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says the novel coronavirus is mostly transmitted between people. People can fall sick by being within six feet of someone who is ill, inhaling “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes” or coming in contact with a surface – which in this case could be an envelope – that someone with the COVID-19 virus has already touched.

Officials in California also adopted similar measures ahead of Super Tuesday, providing voters with hand sanitizer and wet wipes, CNN reported.

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