A lot of folks are feeling fear and uncertainty as the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide. Ten days ago, Michigan had two cases of the coronavirus. Now, we have over 300, and three people have died. Here I’ll answer specific patient questions regarding coronavirus.

Question From Kris: “Can the Coronavirus Spread on Cash?”

Recent research indicates the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. As far as money goes, it is possible for traces of the virus to survive on cash bills. But the surface tests did not include bills and coins, so, unfortunately, we don’t know how long yet. But, this is not a reason to panic since health officials say there is a very low risk of transferring the virus via cash. The same is true for packaged deliveries and carryout food. So, while there is no cause for panic, everyone still needs to play it safe. Continue practicing social distancing and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling packages, carryout bags, cash, or credit cards because we know this kills the virus.

Question From Christopher: “Does Having a Cold of The Flu Boose Your Immune System and Protect Against the Virus?”

The most important thing we can do to combat the virus is to keep our immune systems in tip-top shape. This means eating healthy, getting a good night’s rest, exercising, and reducing stress. Now, when you become infected with a bacteria or virus, it is true that your body will develop immunity to that specific agent. But, it doesn’t necessarily change or increase your protection against another virus like COVID-19.

Question From Danielle: “My mother is flying in from Austin Texas. I just had a newborn baby.  (My mother) works in dentistry so she does have gloves and masks. Should she be worried about flying?”

First off, I’m very excited for Danielle with her new baby. Congratulations! I’m the parent of a four-month-old, so I understand this is an exciting time for families and how a grandmother would want to fly to visit her new grandbaby. But, unfortunately, we all need to be practicing social distancing at this time. This virus is here in the United States and spreading rapidly. It’s very difficult to maintain six feet distance on a plane. So, in my opinion, it’s not worth risking everyone’s health for Danielle’s mother to get on a plane. Danielle is nesting and healing. Getting exposed to COVID-19 is the last thing she needs right now. And wearing a mask is unlikely to protect her from the virus should she come in contact with an infected person. An N95 respirator is 95% effective against airborne particles, and a mask is less effective than that.

Heed The Warning

One last thing I’d like to address is the number of young people appearing to ignore warnings from health officials. Young people are not immune to severe consequences from this disease, including death. In fact, almost 40% of younger people with coronavirus wind up in the hospital. The risk of dying is low – so spring break will be here again next year. But, for a lot of people, they won’t be around next year if we don’t get this thing under control. So, please, let’s work together as a society so we have a fighting chance at beating this.

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