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 her email ( and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I have been locked down since March 12. Our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild have also been distanced for that long. Can we now be together as a family unit? – Susan

Not yet. If you’re of an age where you’re at high risk, it’s best to keep your distance for the time being. I’m glad you’ve been socially distancing for so long, but this is not the time to stop. We need more time to reduce cases and roll out widespread testing before relaxing those recommendations.  Hang in there!

If one family member gets coronavirus, what are the chances of the rest of the family, who live together, coming down with the virus? – Dianne

The chances are pretty good. Transmission between people who live together is one of the main ways the virus spreads. But if you take precautions, you can lower that risk. The person who is infected should isolate themselves in one part of the home. He or she would wear a mask and avoid contact with others in the house. All shared surfaces should be disinfected frequently, and everyone should wash their hands regularly.

I use oxygen all the time. Am I exempt from wearing a face mask? – Gloria

Unfortunately, no. Even if you use oxygen, if you go out, you should wear a face mask. One that ties behind the head might be more comfortable than the ones with elastics behind the ears. Put the nasal cannula in your nose first, then place the mask on top. It might be uncomfortable but hopefully, you won’t need to it wear it for long.

I don’t own a washer/dryer. Are there special precautions I should take when dropping my laundry off to be done outside my home? – Tonya, Chelsea

Anytime you receive a package from outside the home, in this case, clean laundry, you should remove the contents, toss the packaging in the trash or recycling, and then wash your hands well.  The same goes for dry cleaning.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

  1. kathleen oconnell says:

    can you use dish soap to clean services vs hand soap if you run out of hand soap. Can you use dishwasher soap to clean counters before disinfecting.

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