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.

Ed wants to know what the accuracy of COVID tests is.

It depends on the type of test. The most accurate test is the PCR test that looks for the virus’s genetic material on a nose or throat swab but these tests take longer to run. Rapid tests, that give results in a much shorter period of time, tend to be less accurate and are more likely to give you a false positive or false negative. A rapid, more accurate saliva test should be available in the near future.

“We have relatives who will be traveling to ‘safe’ states but don’t want to wear masks or socially distance. Should we isolate ourselves from them when they return?”-Deborah

Even if a state has a relatively low level of coronavirus, you still need to wear masks and socially distance to protect yourselves and others. So, yes, I would keep my distance from your relatives until it’s clear that they have not been infected while away.

“Do antibacterial wipes kill COVID-19? It says it kills 99.9% of germs.”Janie on Facebook

If the product says it’s “antibacterial” it probably is only effective against bacteria, not viruses, like the coronavirus. You want to look for disinfectant wipes that say they work against viruses as well. Disinfectant wipes are hard to come by these days but you can find recipes online to make your own.

Denise on Facebook says that late blight fungus that causes disease in vegetable gardens can spread by wind. She asks, “Is the coronavirus similarly spread?”

The wind is probably your friend when it comes to coronavirus because it can disperse the respiratory droplets in the air, making it hard for someone nearby to breathe in enough virus to cause infection.


Leave a Reply