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More Questions About The Coronavirus Answered

coronavirus

(CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS)

The situation with the coronavirus changes daily and we're taking your questions as events unfold. We asked experts Ana Bento, Professor in IU's School of Public Health and Biology Department, and Dr. Dan Handel, Chief Medical Officer for the IU Health South Central Region, to tackle some of your questions. Here are their answers:

One listener wanted to know, "Where do I look for updates on the coronavirus and its effects in Indiana?"

Dr. Dan Handel: "In addition to the state department, IUHealth.org has a good link for people to check and also the Centers For Disease Control.”

You can also find hourly news updates at WFIU's Coronavirus In Indiana live blog.

"What is the capacity of IU Health in Bloomington and how it will handle an influx of patients as the number of cases increases?"

Handel: Bloomington Hospital itself has over 300 licensed beds. I mean, I can’t tell you off the top of my head exactly how many ventilators we have but you know there’s the ability to pull from different locations and different settings, ventilators if needed.” 

He says IU Health Bloomington Hospital is working with others around the state to evaluate resources available and has plans in place to respond as more cases come in. 

"Is COVID-19 is really more dangerous than the seasonal flu?"

Ana Bento: "Yes, COVID-19 is more of a threat. Why we should be concerned about COVID is because there are many things we still don’t know.” 

Handel: "From one year to the next we build up a certain amount of immunity to the influenza virus, this is something that’s new and so we don’t have the natural immunity to it like we do for other viruses out there.”

Handel and Bento both say another reason the coronavirus is concerning is because its symptoms are so generic.

Handel: "It’s congestion, cough, fever...I think a lot of the anxiety that people are experiencing right now is, we're still in peak flu season. So it's: 'Do I have a cold?', 'Do I have the flu?', or 'Do I have the coronavirus?' Unfortunately, because the symptoms are very nonspecific, it's very hard for us as individuals to differentiate between all the things that are prevalent this time of year."

A listener asks if they should be isolating themselves from their grandchildren right now to avoid the risk of getting infected.

Bento: Yes they should self-quarantine, but not because it’s an elderly individual and a sixteen year-old. It’s basically the same rule of, we should apply social distancing when it's possible.”

She says self isolating is a good idea that everyone should be practicing to an extent right now, not just older people.

“Is it safe to fly in the U.S.?”

Bento says if you are able to choose not to fly, then don’t. 

Bento: “At the moment I think exercise caution. So unless there is an event that you cannot miss you should strive to not go somewhere. We can do only things to minimize our risk, right?”

Possibly the biggest question on everyone's mind: "What can I do to avoid the virus?"

Bento says that because the virus is new and there’s no specific treatment or vaccine for the virus at this time, everyone has a chance of becoming infected. 

Bento: “So things like general rules of social distancing, self quarantining if you are feeling sick. If you are sneezing a coughing and there are people around you, you should cover your face and sneeze into your elbow...and of course the most basic of all things is washing your hands.”

Handel and Bento say basic hygiene is key right now and to avoid any unnecessary trips out of your home. 

Have a question? Ask City Limits:

Our community is changing, from closing businesses to traffic and road construction to affordable housing, and we see the impact of these changes all around us.

We want to know: What questions do you have about how the Bloomington of tomorrow will impact your work, your personal life, your community and your future?

Here’s how it works: You submit a question you’d like us to explore about how Bloomington has changed over the past few decades, what you want to see for the city in the future and how ties with IU continue to shape the community.  

So: What do you wonder about how Bloomington is changing and how it impacts your life?

Interested in an ongoing conversation how Bloomington is changing? Join our Facebook group!

 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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