Local doctor explains why ‘social distancing’ is so important

Morning Show

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Despite repeated calls from local, state, and national experts about the need for social distancing — many people aren’t taking the warnings seriously to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Salata, Director of University Hospitals Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, spoke with FOX 8’s Stefani Schaefer on FOX 8 News in the Morning Monday.

“It is important that we adhere to this because it is an epidemiologic principal. Meaning it is one of the ways that we can prevent further spread by the social distancing,” Salata said. “So the rule of thumb that we generally use is that in the context of transmission we should not be within a six foot radius of a person that may be infected and not in that area for more than five minutes.”

Since carriers can show no symptoms, it’s important to maintain that six foot radius for everyone outside of the people you live with.

“That’s how it’s transmitted is through coughing, sneezing, even talking in regard to the generation of so-called respiratory droplets which is the major way that this is transmitted to others,” he said.

But he said it’s also important to continue to practice frequent hand-washing as the virus can be transmitted via surfaces touched by others.

“There has been increasing evidence to suggest that this particular virus can exist in the environment for hours and sometimes even up to 96 hours. So in that way it could be another source of transmission,” he said. “We have to be awfully careful about cleaning our surfaces, albeit those wipes and things like that are also in short supply, but as much as we can we should adhere to those principles as well.”

He believes packages and mail delivered to your home pose very little risk.

The same appears to be true of restaurant take-out and delivery.

“Right now we have no evidence of transmission in those ways, but we don’t know everything about this virus. I think that’s important we’re learning all the time. To our knowledge that is not a prominent way of transmission right now,” Salata said.

Salata said studies are underway to check the effectiveness of two drugs that may be used to treat coronavirus.

One is called Remdesivir. It was developed by Gilead to treat Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus infections, the company’s website said.

The other drug is called chloroquine and has been used to treat malaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention.

Salata said both drugs are being used very selectively at University Hospitals.

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