(WEHT)- Eyewitness News’ Brad Byrd spoke with Dr. David Schultz of Evansville Primary Care Physicians Thursday afternoon.


Brad Byrd: Thank you, Shelly and hello everyone, hope you are doing well. It’s now your turn to ask some of the questions you want answers to regarding COVID-19. And today our guest health analyst is Dr. David Schultz of Evansville Primary Care Physicians and Dr. Schultz, always good to see you. We’ll lead off with a headline of sorts the World Health Organization now reports the most daily cases came in this week on Wednesday. Why is that happening now, let’s go beyond that headline.

Dr. David Schultz: Well, Brad, it’s just a simple reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still around, but I have to point out a lot of those cases were actually in Latin America, and also in Russia, and we’re seeing a lot of additional cases in those areas, as there are some crowded areas there and also in Russia, and we’re seeing those hospitals down there actually become to be overwhelmed.

Brad Byrd: Geography is so important. Indiana is bordered, of course, by Michigan on the north, Illinois to the west, but why does it still have a much lower death rate and case rate than those two states?

Dr. David Schultz: Well, certainly in Indiana, I think there’s several reasons. First of all, Indiana tends to be a state where it’s still rather spread out with the exception of the Indianapolis area. So there’s a lot of rural areas. And even in the Tri-State area, we are fairly spread out for a city our size. The other reason is people in Indiana tend to be fairly obedient to government and to recommendations from health officers and so forth. And frankly, the people around here and elsewhere, they’ve done their job.

Brad Byrd: And putting a vaccine on a fast track, we’ve been hearing so much about this. We’ve had estimates anywhere as early as October to as late as early 2022. How difficult is it going to be to once we find a vaccine to fast track that to actually get it to people

Dr. David Schultz: Well Brad, there’s several factors involved in that. First of all, we have to make sure the vaccination is safe, that it doesn’t cause harm in the process. That would be also detrimental and it would cause people to panic and fear taking a vaccine. The second thing about the vaccine is it has to produce an antibody response. It’s the antibody response that causes your body when you’re exposed to an infection, to mount an immune defense reaction, and without such there’s no way to fight off that infection. Our main concern with coronavirus is: will the vaccine be able to mount an adequate antibody response, and in doing so provide adequate immunization to you?

Brad Byrd: Well, more health analysts and the CDC are saying that the transmission of this virus is not as rapid by touch, like handling doorknobs or lifting a window open, but more so traveling airborne. What do you think, and we’re not trying to get a green flag here to stop washing your hands, but what do you think about that?

Dr. David Schultz: Well, Brad, the initial tests done with this were done in a laboratory on surfaces and what’s different about that is they do not have adequate exposure to sunlight and UV light. It’s a very sterile environment. In the real environment, you have other things going on, you have disinfectants, you have also sunlight, which also could kill things. And frankly, it’s the amount of viral load that lands on the object that determines if it’s going to pass it on. What they have found in real life is that it’s there’s simply not enough viral particles on the solid surfaces, such as cardboard and steel and aluminum to cause an individual to get an infection.

Brad Byrd: A lot of parents are starting to just kind of, they’re not wringing their hands quite yet, but they’re thinking about the fall: reopening schools, K through 12 schools. What do you think has to be done to do that safely for an age group that starts out from kindergarten, just little kids, all the way to children who are on the verge of becoming adults?

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Dr. David Schultz: Well Brad, there’s some legitimate concerns about the restarting of the schools and yeah, our school administrators around the Tri-State are working very tirelessly to try to find out what the best solutions might be. And the reason is because they do not want to make school an unsafe place, or a place where we could actually increase the spread of this disease and cause a second wave. That said, I would anticipate the schools incorporating a policy of social distancing within their education system, whether it is reducing class sizes, and actually dividing up the day or maybe every other day with certain students, or whether it’s having additional classes so we can decrease the class sizes. Something has to be done to help with this, and I think the other thing that will be instrumental with schools is how the school corporations utilize social media to have distance learning and so forth, so we can minimize that problem as well. But I think we’ll see some mixture of both, once they see the economic feasibility and also the safety measures that are being done in the schools themselves. All right,

Brad Byrd: Alright, Dr. David Schultz, always good to talk to you. Thank you so much for being here for us today. Well if you have questions, go to our Eyewitness News Facebook page or you can also reach me on my page, Eyewitness News at Four. We’ll be right back.

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(This story was originally published on May 21, 2020)