COVID-19 Questions and Answers with Our Medical Advisor Dr. Michael R. Jaff, Part II

COVID-19 Questions

We created a COVID-19 Crisis Response Task Force along with three national medical experts to provide clients with medically informed data. According to one client, the results have been “transformative.”

Today, we share the second of three blogs covering our conversation with Dr. Michael R. Jaff who discusses some of the COVID-19 questions his corporate clients, friends and even family frequently ask.

The Castle Group: Should I wear a mask when I go outside, and if so, should I use an N95 mask?

Dr. Michael R. Jaff: This has become one of the biggest controversies lately. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) first stated that the only reason for the public to wear a mask out of their home is if they themselves are sick in order to prevent the spread of the illness to others. There aren’t enough N95 masks for the general public to use them. Frontline medical professionals need them much more than the public.

However, now we believe due to the incredibly high prevalence of infected people without symptoms, wearing a mask in congested areas (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) makes sense. But it is still uncertain how much wearing a cloth mask will help. To be cautious, when you need to leave your house, it is okay to wear a paper or cloth mask, and if you don’t have one, there are many resources to make your own mask at home.

Recent research suggests that the airborne spread of COVID-19 reaches a farther distance than six feet like we initially thought and that the droplet itself lasts in the air or on surfaces up to three hours or longer. Large droplets typically drop to the ground within six feet of leaving the body, however, we are continuously learning new information that may indicate otherwise.

TCG: Is it safe to give a blood transfusion?

MJ: Yes, this is extremely important, and we are most certainly in a crucial time to give blood. We are in a crisis in terms of blood availability and blood donations must increase to help those in need. Since coronavirus is an airborne infection, there’s nothing to suggest that you could get or give the virus by giving blood.

TCG: If one individual tests positive for COVID-19 and another tests negative in the same household, should they quarantine in the same way?

MJ: If someone is suddenly sick with a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, then it is very likely that they have COVID-19. Even if the test is negative, that person should remain quarantined and isolated until their symptoms completely resolve and then three days after that. This isolation must be for a minimum of seven days. If someone is negative and is completely well but has had direct exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient, that person needs to be self-quarantined for 14 days.  

TCG: Once you get COVID-19, are you immune?

MJ: Unfortunately, we do not know yet. We are still trying to determine if having COVID-19 gives you immunity and if so, how long it will last. The FDA recently announced an investigatory treatment infusing convalescent plasma collected from recovered COVID-19 patients into a small number of patients currently sick with the virus. The results were very optimistic as it shortened the duration and severity of the illness. Some people will become immune, but researchers will need to determine how many do and how long it will last. We will know over time as we learn more about the virus.

TCG: Isn’t it true that only older people get really sick and die from COVID-19?

MJ: This is not true. Although people over the age of 80 are at a much higher risk to require hospitalization, ICU care, and may die, there are plenty of sick people in hospital beds who are under the age of 35. There are very few reports that show young children getting sick compared to individuals over 18. We still have a lot to learn and it’s critical that everyone practices social distancing and stay at home, particularly for the next several weeks, no matter your age, to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

Coming next in the third of this three-part COVID-19 Q&A series: social distancing, getting back to normal and mental health in quarantine.

For more information on our COVID-19 Task Force, visit https://www.thecastlegrp.com/covid-19-crisis-response-task-force/ or connect directly with Sandy Lish (slish@thecastlegrp.com) or Philip Hauserman (pthauserman@thecastlegrp.com).

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