Concern over the COVID-19 pandemic is high as public health authorities and health systems work to contain the outbreak,
In this environment, misinformation is likely to spread.
101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it’s related disease COVID-19, in Michigan.
Below, find reliable sources, hotlines and frequently asked questions, answered by medical experts and WDET reporting.
Get Help Now
Nationwide Case Count
Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson has hosted several hour-long Q&A specials with the following experts. Here is a running FAQ based off their answers on-air and further reporting by the WDET staff.
- Dr. Lisa Elconin, a specialist in Internal Medicine based in West Bloomfield
- Dr. Paul Thomas, a primary care physician at Plum Health direct primary care in Corktown, a practice that utilizes a monthly membership to treat patients rather than through insurance.
- Dr. Sanford Vieder, Medical Director at Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield.
- Dr. Paul Kilgore, Associate Professor and Director of Research at Wayne State University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
The novel, or new, coronavirus strain, COVID-19, is identified by flu-like symptoms, including coughing, chest pain, a fever and difficulty breathing.
But it is a completely different virus from influenza, more contagious and more deadly.
“For every 33 people that get the corona virus, one of them will die. Whereas for every thousand people that get the flu, only one of them will die,” said Dr. Thomas.
Are young people at risk with COVID-19?
Young people are still susceptible to severe outcomes from COVID-19. Furthermore, young people who don’t show symptoms can still infect other people who are more vulnerable. Yes, young people are less likely to die from COVID-19, but they can pass it along just as easily, or even end up hospitalized themselves.
“We’ve seen cases where pediatric patients or children have to go to the hospital and be on ventilators. We’ve seen young adults have to go to the hospital and be on ventilators,” said Dr. Thomas
Will COVID-19 go away as the weather gets warmer?
The coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets, which spread from person to person independent of the outdoor temperature or season. There is no evidence to support the claim that warm weather will put an end to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s some data for coronavirus transmission and seasonal patterns, but most of it is limited,” said Dr. Kilgore. “We know to some extent in the cooler, drier months, some viruses may go further. There’s other viruses we know that have other seasonal patterns. So there is a chance that we could see transmission in warmer months.”
What is your advice for someone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
“If you have mild or moderate symptoms, it’s best to treat this like any other viral infection that we’ve all had before: Rest, plenty of fluids, tea with honey, lozenges, and generally staying at home and not interacting with anybody else who you could transmit this too,” said Dr. Thomas.
If symptoms get worse, make sure you’re documenting the changes.
“Measure your temperature multiple times a day,” said Dr. Kilgore. “That information can be communicated to your healthcare provider, that helps them understand what you’re experiencing.”
Patients are likely to wax and wane in their symptoms, said Dr. Kilgore. If that happens, that’s a really important time to get in touch with your healthcare provider.
If things are changing, that’s when you should go into the emergency department. This sickness can advance quickly.
“The time to take yourself to the hospital is really if you have severe symptoms: Chest pain, chest pressure, difficulty breathing,” said Dr. Elconin, adding a high fever for immunocompromised individuals. “I would call the emergency room ahead of time and let them know that you’re coming, because they would want to take precautions for themselves too.”
After someone comes down with COVID-19, how long does it last, and how long will they be contagious after?
“Once somebody is sick, I would probably ask that they quarantine for up to two weeks,” said Dr. Elconin. “I have read data that the virus can shed for days and weeks after.”
Dr. Kilgore recommends an additional two weeks in quarantine during recovery, if subsequent testing can’t be done.
“We know the virus can be shed even when the patient has recovered clinically. During that recuperation period, people can shed virus into the environment,” said Dr. Kilgore.
For people in recovery, Kilgore recommends great hand hygiene is important, regular cleaning of surfaces, and in particular making sure all the surfaces where food is prepared are washed down with disinfectant.
Should I use Ibuprofen or Tylenol?
“The best drug for lowering temperature is Tylenol,” said Dr. Kilgore. If you have a fever and want to take medicine to treat your symptoms, it is recommended that you take Tylenol or Acetaminophen.
I’m a swimmer, can COVID-19 live in chlorinated water?
No, COVID-19 is not believed to be able to live in drinking water or hot tubs or pools as long as the water is normally treated and disinfected.
Can the virus be killed by putting something in the fridge or freezer?
“We don’t know if the SARS coronavirus can be killed by cold or low temperatures,” said Dr. Kilgore. “We know other viruses can be made inactive, but these are at temperatures lower than a home fridge. Right now, the consensus would be it does not.”