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.

“Is it safe to hug people with a mask on or is it better not to have any contact still?” -Cheryl

To be on the safe side, I would still avoid hugging anyone you don’t live with, especially if you’re high risk. Social distancing is really important even if you have a mask on.

“My friend came back from S.C. and said she does not have to quarantine if her COVID test is negative. Why doesn’t she have to quarantine for 14 days if it can take that long for symptoms to show up?” -Kathryn writes,

Having a negative test no more than three days before returning from outside the state is generally the rule to avoid a 14-day quarantine. But you’re right, symptoms can develop anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. On average, people will develop symptoms after about 5 days.

Mary wonders if she can babysit her three-year-old grandson for a week. He is in daycare but can quarantine for 10 days before coming over.  

Anytime you spend time in close proximity with someone not in your household, you’re taking a risk. Certainly, if he can quarantine before coming to your home, or even if he can get tested beforehand, that could help put your mind at ease.

Rose wants to know if it’s safe to rent a vacation home or stay in a hotel right now.  

This is generally a good time to rent a vacation home with people you ordinarily live with, assuming it’s been cleaned and aired out since the last guests were there. Staying in a hotel is also probably safe as long as the hotel is taking precautions to keep guests separated from other guests and from hotel staff. Though I would still be extra cautious if you’re high risk.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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