COVID-19 Questions, Concerns Answered by St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Doctor

FOX 21 Facebook Followers Ask Questions Regarding COVID-19, Local Infectious Disease Doctor Shares Answers

DULUTH, Minn. – Questions, comments, and concerns are filling our social media feeds and television screens this week, so FOX 21 Local News wanted to know what our viewers and Facebook followers are most concerned about regarding the spread of Coronavirus, also known at COVID-19.

St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Dr. Andrew Thompson stopped by FOX 21 Local News from 7 – 9 a.m. Friday to answer questions and concerns, and calm fears in the Twin Ports.

Question: Why should we be more worried about Coronavirus than the common flu?

Answer: Dr. Thompson says it’s a good idea to be mindful of both. “Every year we have flu. Flu is a big problem, and it kills a lot of people every year, but we’re used to that. It happens every year and it seems to be a pattern, so we may tend to worry less about it. COVID-19 is new. Because of that, it has the potential to cause a lot more damage this year and affect many more people than the flu,” said Thompson.

Question: I’m 50 and have had two heart attacks, two years ago. Should I be concerned?

Answer: Dr. Thompson says everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19. “There doesn’t seem to be any age at which people get it more than others. The people who are at more risk of severe disease tend to be older people, especially over 65-years-old. Any underlying health condition; lung disease, heart disease, could increase the risk of severity,” said Thompson.

Question: What, if any, precautions should I be taking besides the obvious washing of hands/not touching your face when out in public?

Answer: Dr. Thompson says COVID-19 could be tough to avoid. “I think what this individual is already doing with maintaining more distance from others is the best thing to do right now. Common sense things, washing hands, staying away from ill people is important. One thing we tend to forget about is helping our neighbors. If everyone is isolated, some people get left behind. Be mindful of your neighbors and what you can do to help while maintaining some distance,” said Thompson.

Question: How do you know when your symptoms could be a cold, flu, or Coronavirus?

Answer: Dr. Thompson says this is a challenge for doctors right now. “With a cold, I think most people recognize as nasal congestion, sneezing, pressure in your head feeling – it usually doesn’t have a fever associated with it. The things that doctors are really trying to remind people of is if you have a fever and a cough or shortness of breath, muscle aches – more severe symptoms like that could be the flu or COVID-19. Flu might come on a little more suddenly, COVID-19 might come on a little more gradually but it’s hard to tell right now. That’s why we need more testing available,” said Thompson.

Question: Is the media hyping up COVID-19?

Answer: “I think COVID-19 deserves a lot of attention and a lot of focus. We all have to work together. I never advocate for panic, but we really need to stay focused on this,” said Thompson.

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