(WEHT) — Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati joined Brad Byrd to answer a variety of COVID-19 questions.
Brad Byrd: COVID Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy. We’re asking questions you want answers to regarding COVID-19. And our guest health analysts is our friend Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati, she’s an Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Evansville, Dr. Payal leading off here with all of the PPE being used in hospitals where health care workers are at so much risk, and in some cases not surviving after testing positive.
Dr. Payal: Well, in many cases, the PPE isn’t actually adequate and providing adequate protection, which is why the health care providers are getting sick. And another reason for this is that one in three physicians in the country are over the age of 60. So they’re in that high risk category. So they have to really take that extra caution. It is really unfortunate but the PPE oftentimes just as an adequate and given the age distribution of physicians, we’re seeing more mortality rates among them and This is one of the primary reasons why we’re seeing this.
BB: Let’s talk demographics now is COVID 19 affecting different age groups in different ways?
PP: It is; initially we thought it just only affected the elderly. However, as COVID has progressed, we’re seeing it is affecting the younger population as well as the older population. However, the effects are different. For younger population,. for the most part, the symptoms are going to be relatively mild. We have seen a few severe cases but they are rare. But as we go higher and age specifically for those who are 60, and over, the effects are going to be for the most part more severe so everyone’s being affected. However, the effects range with respect to age.
BB: Dr. Payal give me your thoughts regarding reopening fitness centers. Why are they in the first tier of reopening throughout the country and what are we going to have to be very careful about if we enter a fitness center?
PP: Right, the fitness trade association has really pushed to be in this tier one reopened opening. And the reasoning behind that is that basically physical fitness is really essential and necessary during this pandemic, just to keep the population healthy. Now, of course, fitness centers will have to abide by public health guidelines. Yes, everyone will be breathing heavily and sharing machine equipment, but everything will have to follow social distancing guidelines, machines will have to be six to 10 feet apart, no group fitness activities, etc. So they will definitely have to follow guidelines to ensure the safety of those who are using the facility.
BB: I’m talking about our pets. This has come up in the past but two cats, as you know have now been tested positive in New York City. We’re not talking about the Tigers at the Bronx Zoo, these are domestic cats. Can our pets possibly be a pipeline for COVID-19?
PP: To date, the answer is no. The cats probably got COVID through their owners. However, there is no evidence suggesting that cats can pass it on to humans.
BB: Okay, can we get the virus though like petting an animal. If the virus is on the fur or even on your own clothing, is that potentially a problem?
PP: Yes, petting that animal there is that likelihood that the owner or whoever is petting may pass it on to the cat.
BB: Alrighty. Why is tracing so important and very difficult to undertake? Because we’re really getting into the investigative aspect of this once we begin to look down that tree.
PP: Right contact tracing is really essential to reopening the economy so we can have most people tested and if diagnosed, they can remain isolated. However, this is an issue we currently only have about 2500 contact tracers in the US. We really need a minimum of at least 300,000 to test those contacts of diagnosed COVID patients, you can see there’s a huge gap there and I know more and more people are being trained in this but we really need those contact tracers along with that antibody testing in order to safely reopen.
BB: Allergy season is making this even more unbearable for some people what should you be on the lookout for to separate allergy symptoms from virus symptoms?
PP: Right with allergies we’ll typically have that runny nose, watery eyes more of a wet cough and sinus congestion but typically no fever. However, with covid, it will have more of a dry cough and most often have fever and also there’ll be some pain and fatigue. So those are kind of the differentiating symptoms and also with COVID. You may have breathing difficulties.
BB: Well, I’m going to ask this next question. I’m trying to contradict myself getting some fresh air outside allergies aside, can then help relieve potential symptoms.
PP: I think the reasoning behind that is just going outside getting fresh air getting some vitamin D may help elevate your mood a little bit. filling those lungs with fresh air is always important. So it may make you feel better overall for a short period of time sure, but it’s always good to go outside get fresh air get vitamin D and just have your mood elevated a little bit.