Q: How can people cope with depression and anxiety due to COVID-19?
A: The best technique to follow is to take care of your body, eat healthy, sleep properly, and find a release to help rejuvenate yourself.
Q: Is it safe to have family gatherings?
A: If possible, the safest thing to do is not to gather with others. The only way to mitigate the risks associated with gatherings is to wear a mask and properly social distance.
Q: Are the number of cases in Mississippi beginning to plateau?
A: No. There are no signs of cases plateauing. Plateauing means that cases are staying at a steady state with little or no change. In Mississippi, the number of cases per capita is one of the highest. The overall goal is for cases to decline.
Q: Are there any racial differences with regard to COVID-19?
A: Yes. African American adults have shown to be the highest demographic per capita for hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths. In the state of Mississippi, nearly 60% of infections are in African American adults.
Q: Did the Stay-At-Home orders help?
A: Yes. A journal article published from JAMA recently showed information on an analysis of the effectiveness of the Stay-At-Home orders. The analysis was based on Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio and Virginia. The results showed that the Stay-at-home orders did have a positive effect. For example, the projected hospitalizations in Minnesota were 988 and the actual hospitalizations were 361.
Q: How are asymptomatic symptoms correlated with cruise ships?
A: We believe that a substantial portion of infection is from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic symptoms. A recent study published in the medical journal Thorax with a group of 128 reported that 81 percent of COVID-19 infected personnel on the cruise ship had no symptoms. From this information, the best technique when encountering others is to treat them as a potential carrier of COVID-19.
Q: Will there be a second wave and if so, will it be worse than the first wave?
A: In America, we have over 100,000 deaths and it is said that we will have over 70,000 -100,000 more deaths. The second wave will most likely be even more deadly with in addition to flu season coming up.
Q: What is herd immunity and does it work when there is no vaccine?
A: Herd immunity occurs when the infection rate is lower than 1. This is the amount of people an infected person will infect. At this time, we think this rate is 2 or 3 per person, meaning, every person who contracts COVID-19 spreads it to 2-3 people. Herd immunity is when more people are immune to contracting the illness than the people who are not immune.
Q: Are there local trials for convalescent plasma at this time?
A: Yes, at Hattiesburg Clinic and Forest General Hospital we have a trial taking place now. We have a number of people who have received this, recovered, and donated their plasma. If anyone wants to contribute we highly advise them to go to the Cough & Fever Clinic for direction or contact Vitalant directly for more information.
Q: Is there a significant rise in the number of cases for certain age groups in our area?
A: We do not have the info for our area at this time but statewide, Mississippi, we have a significant number of cases between the ages 12-19 and 20-40. Nearly 50% of cases are under the age of 50 and around 10% of cases are under the age of 20.
Q: How long can respiratory droplets last? Is it true that one minute of loud talking can generate enough droplets to linger for 8 minutes?
A: Maybe, there was a study recently about this, but we are not completely sure about this information. We are sure that sneezing and coughing carry much more droplets.
Q: Are scientists testing wastewater to track the virus?
A: It is known that Covid-19 particles get through the GI system. Testing the wastewater gives a general idea of the amount of infection in the community.
Q: Is it safe to engage in outdoor activities?
A: Treat going outside the same as you would being inside. Most outdoor activities involve heavy breathing and sweating. This increases the distance which respiratory droplets can be spread so we should increase our distance from one another accordingly.
Q: Is Covid-19 the second highest cause of death in the United States?
A: Yes, coronavirus has become one of the highest causes of death in the United States.
Q: Why don’t we shut down like this during Flu season.?
A: COVID-19 is a much more severe disease that will kill many more people than the flu. There is no vaccine for this, which means everyone is susceptible. These deaths are also in addition to flu-related deaths, which we have come to accept over the years.
Q: Can you catch COVID-19 a second time after recovering from it?
A: Maybe. We are working to figure this out. As people take antibody tests and get retested we will be monitoring reinfection rates.
Q: Will this eventually go away or is Covid-19 here to stay?
A: This virus is not going to go away. We will be dealing with it far into the future.
Q: Are swimming pools safe? Can COVID-19 survive in swimming pools?
A: We don’t know yet. It will likely be killed in a properly chlorinated pool. Going to a public pool is taking a pretty big risk. Swimming involves not just the water, but also spitting it out and aerosolizing it. Though the virus may not survive in the pool, there are many other ways of transferring it from one person to another.
Q: How are the health care systems handling the shortage of PPE during procedures?
A: Health care professionals ensure that they have sufficient PPE for the protection of patients and workers. In the event that they do not have the necessary PPE, those procedures are postponed to a later date when protective equipment will be available.
Q: Are there any new symptoms associated with COVID-19 infections?
A: Other than the base symptoms, cough and fever, there have been cases of strokes and heart attacks in younger people who test positive for COVID-19.
Q: What does COVID-19 stand for?
A: Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Q: What is the recovery time for people who contract COVID-19?
A: For less severe cases, the recovery time is around two weeks. For more severe cases, recovery time could be as long as 6 weeks.
Q: How can I tell the difference between a regular cough and a cough caused by COVID-19?
A: Coughs vary from person to person. If you can tell that your cough is different from your normal cold cough, you should get tested. The coughing caused by COVID-19 is usually a dry, bothersome one.
Q: Why do we care about COVID-19 so much? Isn’t the flu more deadly?
A: We care about COVID-19 because it is a more severe illness than the flu and it spreads rapidly. People can get more sick from this, and because the majority of people will have mild symptoms, they can potentially pass it on to others without knowing that they are ill. COVID-19 has about a 0.6% mortality rate compared to the flu which is 0.1%. So, six times more people will die from this illness than from seasonal flu.
Q: What is the difference between the 2009 pandemic, H1N1, and COVID-19?
A: Previously, with H1N1 and other pandemics, those illnesses were severe enough that everyone who contracted them was hospitalized and quarantined. COVID-19, however, can be passed by those who are showing no symptoms and it can become very severe for those with compromised immune systems. Covid19 shows the same rate of infection as H1N1 or possibly even higher.
Q: How can you tell the difference between COVID-19, the flu, and allergies?
A: The symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are very similar and this makes it very hard to tell the difference between the two. The only way to tell is by testing. Allergies, on the other hand, tend to be less severe.
Q: Are there enough testing supplies and masks for patients?
A: Hattiesburg Clinic is in contact with the Mississippi State Department of Health and commercial laboratories investigating the process of making our own tests. We have plenty of masks and personal protective equipment as of now, but we need to pace ourselves because supplies are in short supply nationwide. We are screening patients prior to entry to ensure that those who need them are receiving them.
Q: Do we have enough hospital beds for the people who get sick from COVID-19?
A: We do right now. We’ve increased the capacity by delaying elective and non-urgent procedures, so we actually have more beds open now than we did before this outbreak.
Q: Is there a blood shortage right now?
A: Yes, there is a blood shortage currently and because of that there is a national call for doctors to perform only necessary procedures.
Q: Are our state and local officials doing enough to protect us?
A: The hope is that people will receive the messages being issued by our state and local officials about this disease and voluntarily do as medical professionals ask without having to legislate these recommendations.
Q: Is this being blown out of proportion by our state and local officials?
A: No. We have learned from the states and countries that came before us that we need to act quickly. For every single case we diagnose there may be dozens more that we don’t know about. The more quickly we can establish these quarantine measures, the better.
Q: Are we going to see COVID-19 for the next 10-20 years?
A: Yes. But, hopefully, it will not be a virus that mutates as quickly as the flu and we can have one long-lasting immunity similar to measles.
Q: Should health care workers wear masks when at home with their families?
A: As long as health care workers have the appropriate PPE while in direct patient contact and practice safety measures at home, it should be fairly safe to be unmasked around family. It’s important for health care workers to remove shoes before entering the home, immediately put clothes in the washer, and avoid excessive physical contact at this time.
Q: Should people delay family planning until this is over?
A: If possible, the safest thing to do is delay plans to become pregnant during this pandemic.