By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — As Massachusetts continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the public has plenty of questions. Dr. Mallika Marshall answered some of those sent to WBZ-TV’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts.

With the upcoming season, we already have troubles with ticks and Lyme disease and mosquitoes and their diseases. How is the coronavirus going to affect this problem? – Ken from north of Boston 

Coronavirus is not spread by mosquitoes or ticks, but you’re right, we still have to protect ourselves from insect-borne diseases like Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus. So I would do what we normally do to avoid these insects: use protective clothing and insect repellant and avoid the times of day and locations where they thrive.

If I self-isolate for more than two weeks and show no signs of COVID-19 symptoms, why do I need to wear a mask if the purpose of the mask is to stop me from potentially spreading the virus? I think people think that wearing a Mask prevents them from being infected. – Linda on Facebook

The primary reason we should wear masks around other people is to protect others from our respiratory droplets. And many people who are infected have no symptoms. So even if you feel well, you could potentially be infected. Every time you leave your house or receive a delivery, you could get infected and never know it. I don’t have symptoms but when I go out, I wear a mask and socially distance because I could still be a threat to others. I protect you. You protect me.

I would love to put this to sleep. My 85-year old neighbor says my little Shih Tzu dog can contract the virus. Mind you, Jazzy doesn’t go outside at all. – Joanne on Facebook

There have been a few reports of dogs and cats and even a tiger in the U.S. getting infected with the coronavirus. The CDC says the risk of a pet dog or cat spreading the virus to a person is low. However, they suggest pets socially isolate from other pets and people outside the home. And if someone does get sick, keep pets away from them.

Can COVID-19 be spread through secondhand smoke? – Andrew on Facebook 

The virus doesn’t necessarily hitch a ride on smoke, but whenever someone smokes or vapes, they’re breathing out respiratory droplets. So if you’re near someone who is smoking and you can smell the smoke, and that person is sick with COVID-19, you’re at risk of getting sick yourself. Not to mention, long-term secondhand smoke exposure can damage the lungs and make you more susceptible to coronavirus complications.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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