By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, we are receiving a number of questions from the public. Dr. Mallika Marshall answered some of the questions sent to WBZ-TV’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

My 17-year-old has asthma. He plays three sports and is in good physical shape. Is he considered compromised? – Trish, Facebook

If someone has asthma and gets infected with the coronavirus, they are probably at higher risk of getting really sick from it. But your son’s age and his good physical conditioning are in his favor. I would have your son take extra precautions to protect him and others in the house from getting infected and make sure he is continuing his current regiment to keep his asthma under control.

When are you considered not contagious? I had a cold last week. Gone except a little leftover cough. Don’t want to pass it along. – Kelly, Facebook

We think that people are most contagious during the first few days of symptoms but may continue to shed virus and could still be contagious for more than a week after they’re feeling better. Many people thought to be infected are told to self-isolate for at least 14 days. But call your doctor to get advice.

Has anyone established the benchmark for what needs to be seen in order to send kids back to school? Just wondering if there’s any hope. – Carlene, Facebook

We need to see cases go down. According to some health officials, that means that the number of cases in the state has declined steadily for 14 days and the healthcare system can easily diagnose, treat and isolate infected patients and their contacts. They say for some states that could happen in May. For others, not until fall.

Should direct care ICU nurses and doctors who are working only with COVID-19 patients be out in public shopping? Would it be safer to use delivery services? – Heather, Facebook

First responders need groceries just like anyone else and trying to get grocery delivery can be incredibly difficult. But I do agree that first responders need to be particularly careful while out in public. Keeping their distance from other shoppers is important and they should consider wearing some sort of face mask to protect the people around them.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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