CHATTANOOGA, Tenn – Since the pandemic began nearly 10 months ago, the medical community has been scrambling to learn about and control- the spread of the virus known as COVID-19.
Although Covid-19 is a new strain, doctors say that other strains of the Coronavirus, such as SARS and MERS, have been around for years.
What they do know about the virus is that it is airborne but usually contracted through a close contact, that it can live on surfaces but that this doesn’t seem to be the main source of infection, that the virus produces different symptoms for different people, and that antibodies can help save lives.
“Suggestions now that an infection does lead to immunity we have pretty good evidence that it is several months because we have large numbers of people that we have been able to follow and see them circulate among an area where there is transmission and not get infected again for several months,” says Dr. Mark Anderson , Infectious Disease at CHI Memorial.
Doctors caution that although there is no definitive proof that you can get the virus twice, the rate of reinfection won’t be known until years from now.
Misinformation circulating on social media platforms is troubling to medical professionals especially the idea that Covid-19 is no worse than getting the flu.
“The big deal about this compared to the flu is that it is perfectly capable of killing you, just like the flu is but with the flu we have a way to treat that. We have some very good influenza drugs that are very effective. We don’t have a highly effective drug for everybody across the board yet. We don’t have preventive methods for this virus yet,” says Dr. Anderson.
With flu season upon us, doctors urge patients to get their flu shots. It could prevent the spread of another deadly disease in an already stressed hospital system.
“The flu vaccine is probably more important than it has ever been. This is a critical time of the year. Now more than ever we need to be more vigilant,” says Betsy Chase, Director of Infection Prevention at Parkridge Medical Center.