Coronavirus public health Q&A with Dr. Eileen de Villa (April 22)

By Dilshad Burman

We know you have questions about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and we’re working to get you the answers, straight from the most trusted sources.

Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa was LIVE on our website on Wednesday afternoon to answer your questions and address your concerns about COVID-19.

Here are a few questions Dr. de Villa addressed:

(Questions have been edited for grammar, punctuaiton and clarity)

Q: Are you likely to get re-infected with COVID-19 if you’ve recovered? If so, does that mean the virus mutated?
A: The virus that causes COVID-19 was only discovered three months ago so we are still learning about it. Not really clear whether people get long-lasting immunity after an infection. With most respiratory viruses, we don’t. But science is still working on the answer to this question.

Q: What is the best practice when bringing home groceries or deliveries into the home? Our house uses disinfectant wipes to wipe down any boxes/containers entering the house and rinses fruits/vegetables with soap/water. Is this too extreme or are they reasonable precautions?
A: Most important thing is to wash your hands well with soap and water before preparing food and before eating. Otherwise, good food handling practices should also be practiced: including separating raw foods from cooked foods, cleaning of fruits and vegetables and keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, etc.

Q: Can someone get COVID-19 by ingesting food prepared by an infected person?
A: It may be possible, but it would depend on the circumstances. If good food handling practices are used though, the risk of this should be lowered significantly.

Q: We have vaccines for viral diseases like measles, mumps, rubella. Can we use the same formulation in those MMR vaccines for COVID-19?
A: There are a number of what are called “candidate vaccines” currently being worked on. But vaccine development is complex and we believe that we are at least 12-18 months away from a vaccine for use against COVID-19. So for now, we are relying on case and contact tracing and physical distancing and other public health measures to keep us all safe.

Scroll through the chat below for more answers from Dr. Eileen de Villa.

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