(WEHT) — Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati, Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Evansville, answers more questions about coronavirus.


Brad Byrd: Dr. Payal, good afternoon. Moderna, the vaccine trial, where do we go from here? And how long could it take if continued trials show positive results?

Dr. Payal Patel-Dovlatabati: Well, phase one just ended and it showed promising results. The vaccine trial was conducted on about 40 people with eight showing antibodies that were developed against COVID. So this is promising, they will proceed to phase two, which will test the vaccine on a few hundred. And then phase three will be conducted in July, which will test it on about 10s of thousands of people. Now, if the vaccine does show promising results, safety and efficacy, then there could be mass production of the vaccine.

BB: Indiana now has its first confirmed case of an inflammatory syndrome impacting children. What should parents be on the lookout for? New York has already reported more than 150 cases.

PP: Yes, this is unfortunate and it is impacting children much more and it is directly related to COVID. So COVID symptoms of fever of four or more days and also other symptoms that are typically seen with COVID that are indicative of the inflammatory syndrome. So these include abdominal pain, conjunctivitis, gi issues, even rashes on palms of hands and feet are things to be on the lookout for parents.

BB: The Indiana Health Commissioner says the state is seeing a significant spread of asymptomatic cases and is advising people to still stay home if they can, even though the economy is slowly reopening. What do you think?

PP: Yes, there’s a study being done in conjunction with the Indiana State Government and IUPUI. The study actually revealed that at this point in time, up to 180,000 people may have had or have an active infection. So this goes to show you kind of the under testing and also the asymptomatic cases that may be prevalent. So yes, I’m seeing more and more people venturing out. They’re not social distancing. They’re not wearing face masks or face coverings. And really the guidelines here are, let’s let’s just pretend like you are sick and everyone around you is sick, That way we can keep everybody healthy. So it’s really important to practice those preventive measures, social distancing, hand hygiene and face masks because the prevalence is much higher in the state of Indiana, then what we really think it is.

BB: Dr. Payal, you showed me that video from China involving how fast this virus can spread. Now some research suggests you can spread the virus by simply talking to a person within six feet. That definitely got my attention. What about you?

PP: Yes, and this is especially true if you’re indoors. Now, if you’re outdoors with free flowing air is probably not an issue. But if you’re indoors, just by talking if I am infected, I can spread aerosols and this can remain in the air for up to 14 minutes. So studies have been done where people spoke and the aerosols traveled as far as 9 to 11 feet. So this is very interesting information. And again, those preventive measures, they’re very essential in keeping us safe and healthy.

BB: Things have just changed so dramatically. Dr. Payal, I was on a business trip to New York City last October and I’m trying to imagine how it could reopen considering its density isn’t going to be very tough for larger cities like New York City, even Indianapolis, Louisville, St. Louis, in our region to reopen.

PP: Yes, this is going to require significant planning by the government to reopen in a safe manner. I know New York City has taken many steps and many precautions They’ve hired or they’re currently training over 400 contact tracers. So if someone were to get sick they can trace those contacts and they can quarantine. So, isolation, quarantine, testing, tracing, prevention is all a comprehensive approach that’s going to be involved in order to safely reopen.