(WEHT) — Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati, Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Evansville, answers more questions about COVID-19.
Brad Byrd: Hi everyone, hope you are doing well and staying healthy. It’s now your turn to ask the questions you want some answers to regarding COVID-19. And today, once again, our guest health analyst is Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati. Dr. Payal, we’ll start out with Vice President Mike Pence. Today he was in Kokomo, Indiana at the ventilator facility, which is actually a GM plant. They’ve converted to manufacturing ventilators. He said no one in this country has been denied a ventilator. Can you react to that statement?
Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati: Yes, that is an interesting statement. Many of the areas that weren’t as hard hit did not have ventilator shortages. However, we know that New York City was a very hard hit area. Some hospitals did even report shortages of ventilators. And some doctors even said they had to ration ventilators and this may of course raise some ethical concerns and issues so so I would say that statement may be somewhat inaccurate.
BB: Why could remdesivir be important in this battle? This, of course, is the drug. It’s not a vaccine, of course, but it’s the drug that Dr. Fauci touted yesterday.
PP: Right. So remdesivir is actually the first drug that’s been scientifically proven to have an effect on COVID. It’s been tested for safety and efficacy and those who took the drug recovered faster, they recovered about 31% faster. They recovered in 11 days as opposed to those who did not take the drug, and they recovered in 15 days. So although the results may seem a little modest, it is very promising as it is scientifically proven. And it is a great first step to finding something that may be a treatment especially for those critically ill individuals that are affected by COVID.
BB: Let’s talk about the test and we have talked about this in the past, but some health analysts have said that it depends on the test that you are receiving. How reliable are these tests because there are so many different types?
PP: There are many different types of tests. However, with respect to diagnosis, we have the saliva test and the nasal swab and now the CDC hasn’t really officially released any accuracy results, but we do know that the saliva test tends to be more consistent and more accurate as opposed to the nasal swab test.
BB: Healthy living while you are stuck at home- comfort foods like canned ravioli are being bought in great quantities. What are your food recommendations while you’re all cooped up?
PP: It’s actually really great to boost that immune system. And so just eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are really key and canned beans, chickpeas that are low in sodium have ample amounts of nutrition, it’s really important to get those probiotics so unsweetened yogurt, and good fats that are found in nuts and avocados are great. The healthier you eat, it’ll elevate your mood. It’ll make you feel better and also reduce stress anxiety. Definitely avoid those sugary, highly processed foods. When the COVID pandemic started, we saw that individuals were kind of binge buying Twinkies and ding dongs. So definitely avoid those types of foods and stick with the healthy nourishing foods.
BB: Dr. Payal, you are an Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Evansville. Can you talk about how universities could reopen possibly by fall semester? Just this afternoon, IU officials said it would be nice, but it’s unlikely. Purdue has said it may be giving the green light to reopen the campus come fall. What has to happen for that to happen?
PP: Brad, it really depends on many factors. We have to look at what CDC guidelines are recommended, state governmental guidelines, and we’ll also have to figure out you know how universities can socially distance their students and also their employees have appropriate diagnostic plans. And so I think the next four to six weeks will be really critical in determining how universities do reopen, we have to look at what COVID does in the next four to six weeks. And I’m sure contingency plans will be made according to that.
BB: You know, we’re entering the vacation season. And if you’re planning to visit a loved one, for example, who lives alone several hours away who’s not showing any symptoms, is it safe to do so even if their home has been sanitized? Or are you just going to have to maintain long distance communication?
PP: for now is probably best to maintain that long distance communication. A lot of factors come into play here such as age or other concurrent conditions where the individual may have been, so it’s probably just best to stay home
BB: Does wearing gloves really help? If you are out shopping you’re handling several items. What do you say?
PP: That’s an interesting question gloves may provide a false sense of security. If you have gloves and you touch your face, you’re kind of defeating the purpose. So it’s really just more recommended to wear a face covering or a face mask because you have to take the gloves inside out and if you do remove gloves incorrectly, it really just defeats the purpose and so having hand sanitizer is actually better than wearing gloves but a face mask or a face covering is essential at this point.
BB: Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati, thank you so much.