Interview with a CDC Response Team Member
By: Rachel Cohn
I am lucky enough to have a mother who is also on the CDC Coronavirus Response Team. In a small period of time when she wasn’t on a work call or on the phone with Apple or the NFL, I was able to ask her a few questions about the virus that everyone has been wondering.
Me: Do I need to wear a mask and gloves when I go out?
Amanda: Yes, we do recommend that when you are in public places, you wear a mask. I don’t recommend that you wear gloves but rather that you wash your hands frequently, especially when you are touching things like doorknobs or grocery carts and things like that.
Me: Can I go for a walk or a run with my friends outside?
Amanda: I think it’s safe at this point in time to go for a walk or run with a couple of friends just make sure that you run next to each other and a couple of feet apart and don’t give each other high fives and things like that when you see each other.
Me: Do you think we are going to go back to school in the fall?
Amanda: I am really hopeful that you guys are all going to be back in school by the fall. I do think that there will be some things that will look different like you may not have huge assemblies and there may be a change in football games or dances, but I’m really hopeful that things are somewhat back to normal and you guys are going to school each day.
Me: And what do you think about camp and other summer activities?
Amanda: I’m also really hoping that things like camps and people’s summer plans and jobs are able to happen. They may not happen at the beginning of the summer, but I think that by mid June or the end of June people will be able to go places and do their summer plans.
Me: Can pets transmit the disease?
Amanda: We don’t have any evidence that pets can transit the disease to people. We do have some evidence in the United States that cats can get Coronaviruses including some large lions and tigers who got Coronavirus at the Bronx zoo. There’s been a case of Coronavirus in a dog in Hong Kong, but at this point I would not worry about your pets giving you Coronavirus, what’s more likely to happen honestly is that you are going to give your pets Coronavirus, but it doesn’t seem to be serious in pets at all.
Me: Does climate affect the disease?
Amanda: It’s really hard to say if changes in the temperature and climate will impact the spread of disease. What we do know is that sunlight and heat do seem to lower the possibility of you transmitting the disease. So being outside is better than being indoors, but we don’t know if Summer’s really going to change the way it’s being transmitted. Even if it does lower the amount of transmission, that makes us worry about having big increases again in the Fall so we still have to be really careful.
Me: Is the six feet apart rule still a rule?
Amanda: We do still recommend social distancing which means six feet apart or two arms lengths apart as much as possible. When you can’t social distance that is one of the reasons we do recommend that you wear a face mask because as you know it’s impossible to stay away from everybody six feet apart like in the grocery store and things like that.
Me: Do you agree with certain authority figures that say a good way to combat the virus is injecting clorox and bleach into our bodies?
Amanda: No, there’s a really big difference between treating a CoronaVirus infection inside of a person versus getting rid of it on surfaces and in the environment. What I will say is that it’s really important that we do studies to see whether or not different treatments are safe and effective and I think the most, I do think over the next several months we will have some ways to treat CoronaVirus and hopefully a vaccine that will help us get out of this really challenging time.
Me: So let’s just make sure everyone knows: you are not supposed to drink bleach.