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 (, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

First, doctor, can you tell us about updated guidelines by the CDC outlining how the virus is likely spread in the community?

The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus doesn’t easily spread by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. In other words, you’re not likely to get the virus from your groceries, takeout meals or Amazon packages. The main way the virus spreads is through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets, even among people who are not showing symptoms. So while we should continue to wash our hands and disinfect commonly used surfaces, the most important way to protect each other is to socially distance and wear masks.

I was wondering if you would advise that children wear masks while taking a dance class? – Lynn

I’m not sure when dance classes and other group activities for kids will resume, but I personally think that anyone who is in an enclosed space with other people should wear a mask at all times, even if students are spaced more than six feet apart.

When taking their temperature, if they don’t have a fever, can they still have the virus anyway? – Lynn

Yes. Having a fever is a red flag that someone may be infected with the coronavirus, but the absence of fever does not mean they are in the clear. People can be contagious two to three days before developing symptoms, and some people with the virus never develop a fever.

My automobile is kind of dirty. What do I need to wear when I wash my car? – John

First, I would wear pants. But other than that, if you’re washing your own car outside alone without others around, you don’t need to wear a mask. If you’re around other people who don’t live with you, wear a mask. And when you’re done washing your car, wash your hands.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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