By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus-related medical questions. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.

I want to attend a wake but the funeral director is not requiring masks or social distancing. Isn’t that required? – Pamela

My understanding is that funeral homes are not supposed to exceed 40-percent capacity at any given time, should space chairs six feet apart and that visitors are expected to wear masks. 

Denise wants to attend a 90-minute church service but is reluctant.  “I am 66 years old,” she writes. “Should I just go and not worry?”

Even if churches take proper precautions, there is still a risk of infection because you’re in an enclosed space with other people for a prolonged period of time and the simple act of singing can spread respiratory droplets in the air. So if you’re concerned or you’re in a high-risk category, I would reconsider. 

Friends are having their annual 4th of July party at their home with about 25 people. We sit on the deck and some go swimming but ultimately there is little room for social distancing. Should I attend? – Karen

Even if it’s outdoors, if you can’t socially distance, it’s probably not a good idea, especially for anyone over 65 or anyone with underlying conditions like diabetes. A small group of people with plenty of outdoor space to spread out would be a less risky proposition.

How safe will it be to get a massage? Assuming the attendant and I are masked.

While massages are wonderful, they are often elective and simply for pleasure. So if you’re at high risk of COVID-related complications, best to wait. But if you’re at low risk and you REALLY want to go get a massage, make sure you and the attendant wear masks, you wash your hands right afterwards, and shower as soon as you get home.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

  1. Barbara says:

    Dear Dr. Marshall,
    I am so discouraged to hear you continue to advise people that they can gather to socialize after considering their own risk factors. completely discounting the people they will come in contact with for weeks to come. From what is now known about asymptotic spread, the better message would be to advise people in a much more confident tone, to avoid gathering, and if they are not able to avoid it, to follow up with self isolation and then testing to eliminate unnecessary risk of spread.
    We all know alcohol will be served at any 4th of July event, and caution is so hard to maintain after a few beers or glasses of wine. we are really headed for a major rise in cases unless we assure people that we believe in them and their ability to be concerned for others and be strong for a greater length of time until we are past this danger. I realize the cases in MA are really low right now, but we will not be able to keep them that way if we let our guard down.

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