VIRGINIA (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is committed to bringing you the facts, so we sat down with Dr. Brian Martin, director of the Master of Public Health Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School, for some answers.
“I don’t think that we’ve jumped the gun, personally. I think any time you enact preventive measures it’s for good cause, Dr. Martin told WAVY. “It is appropriate to be preventive and to be swift in our preventive measures.”
He cites what he calls an “explosion in the number of cases” and the way we’ve seen it spread in other countries as reasons for implementing this social distancing.
He added that we don’t know how widespread it is here already.
“We could be asymptomatic right now and not know it, we could have symptoms develop over the next two to five days.”
It is older people and those with preexisting health conditions who are dying.
Martin says colleges and other organizations are appropriately doing their part to control community the spread despite the fact that college age students have fared well with the virus.
“One of the problems is our individual students, even younger students, they don’t live in isolation not even among themselves,” he said.
Infected students may not even experience symptoms and could spread it to an at-risk family member, or even someone at a mall or restaurant.
That’s why Martin says you can expect to see more cancelled events and people working from home.
It does not mean, however, that you have to stay home alone all the time if you’re feeling well.
“Can you have parties with friends at your home? Of course you can, but you would expect your friends who aren’t feeling well to call and say ‘I’m not feeling well, I’m not attending.’ The same way we would treat the flu,” Martin said.
Another part of ‘social distancing,” Martin explained, is personal space.
“The general recommendation is six feet, then anything that might be coughed or sneezed out would have less likelihood of landing on you,” Martin said.
Like any other contagious disease, Martin said we each have a duty to protect our family, friends and community by washing our hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces often and staying home from work and school when we are sick.
As far as the cancellations and closures, and how long this will last Martin said the answer is up in the air.
“That is a good question and I wish I had the answer to that — just like every other person does.”
Right now, doctors are hoping this will be a seasonal virus like the flu, which means things would be back to normal by summer.
Since it is a new virus, no one can be sure.
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