Is my mask reusable if I leave it out? Your COVID-19 questions answered

We’re answering your questions concerning the pandemic. Ship yours to, and we’ll publish a choice of solutions each weekday on-line, and in addition put some inquiries to the specialists throughout The Nationwide and on CBC Information Community. 

To this point we have obtained greater than 20,000 emails from throughout the nation. As all the time, your questions have stunned us, stumped us and obtained us considering.

Can I go away my masks out for per week till the virus dies after which re-use it?

It is a nice query from Bradley N. We’re unsure what kind of masks Bradley owns, however it’s higher to scrub it than go away it out. This is why: 

We all know the coronavirus can persist on different surfaces for varying amounts of time, together with masks. However when the virus has fully disappeared from a masks is difficult to specify, particularly when you’re not making use of another decontamination measures. 

“It should rely upon the masks materials and situations the place it’s sitting,” mentioned Dr. Anand Kumar, a crucial care doctor at Winnipeg’s Well being Sciences Centre with a background in infectious illnesses. 

For a virus to go from being current to fully gone is a steady course of, he explains. It decreases over time however it’s exhausting to confirm when a masks is virus-free. 

“Leaving a masks out for per week will certainly lower the viral load and the danger of getting an infection from the masks. Will it shield you 100 per cent? We do not know,” mentioned Kumar.

That is as a result of docs aren’t positive how a lot of the virus is required for it to be doubtlessly infectious — which implies if some remnants linger on the masks, it could possibly be dangerous. 

In case you are utilizing a material masks, Well being Canada recommends washing it on a sizzling cycle and drying totally. You can read more of their guidance here

Some hospitals are using autoclaves to sterilize masks, together with Kumar and his crew. 

Ought to grocery retailer and pharmacy staff get prioritized testing?

Jeff in Vancouver is one in every of many who need to know whether or not grocery retailer and pharmacy staff ought to obtain precedence testing, like front-line health-care staff.

Infectious illness specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch says sure.

Those that are “in contact with a lot of individuals every single day” must be included in diagnostic testing, in addition to “some type of surveillance” to make sure they’re destructive, he says. 

In truth, Bogoch says the edge for testing must be a lot decrease and says anybody who has suitable signs to COVID-19 must be examined.

WATCH | Who ought to get precedence testing?

Jeff E. from Vancouver is questioning if grocery retailer and pharmacy staff must be categorized within the excessive threat inhabitants and obtain extra frequent testing. 0:27

So why aren’t we doing it? The issue for a lot of provinces has been capability.

Every province has been setting its personal standards for who will get examined, and it modifications day by day. For instance, Alberta has begun testing extra broadly, whereas Ontario and Quebec are focusing extra on health-care staff, long-term care amenities and people with extreme circumstances. 

Bogoch provides that increasing and sustaining testing is critical to make sure a second wave of COVID-19 does not get out of hand. 

“Fast entry to diagnostic testing for the final inhabitants goes to be essential,” he mentioned, including that surveillance within the common neighborhood might be simply as needed.

Might a drug used to deal with Ebola assist COVID-19 sufferers?

We have obtained quite a lot of questions on Remdesivir, together with an e-mail from F. Knafo, who needs to know if this antiviral treatment is being utilized in Canada?

No. There are presently no approved treatments or vaccines for the coronavirus. Nevertheless, researchers recommend the drug, which was designed to deal with Ebola, confirmed promising outcomes towards COVID-19 in a single medical trial. 

Leaked partial outcomes from that trial recommend that out of 113 severely sick sufferers, most recovered and had been despatched house in per week; and two died. Nevertheless, the info has not been peer-reviewed or revealed, so from a analysis perspective, specialists say the findings are problematic. 

“With no management group, it is actually, actually tough to inform whether or not you are simply choosing the right sufferers who’re doing higher [or] whether or not that is one thing that might’ve occurred anyway,” mentioned Dr. Ivan Oranski, who retains tabs on the standard of scientific research because the editorial vp of Medscape.

“So it is good that these information are getting on the market, however I believe it is actually untimely.”

WATCH | CBC’s Vik Adhopia experiences on Remdesivir: 

Researchers say Remdesivir, a drug designed to deal with Ebola, is displaying promising outcomes towards COVID-19 however warn it’s too quickly to say. 1:57

Ought to long-term care residents be moved to hospitals as soon as they take a look at constructive?  

Many together with R. Chan are questioning whether or not long-term care residents who take a look at constructive must be robotically transferred to hospital. 

Sufferers with gentle circumstances of COVID-19 could be handled in long-term care, so long as there’s sufficient workers, in line with Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a professor of geriatric medication and a geriatrician at Halifax’s Queen Elizabeth II Well being Sciences Centre.

“The subsequent stage of COVID-19 illness is extreme sickness,” as a result of sufferers typically want oxygen, mentioned Rockwood. However “this too could be accomplished in long-term care,” if the power can cope. 

Adrian Wagg, division director of geriatric medication on the College of Alberta, agrees that long-term care residents typically don’t fare effectively in hospital environments, particularly if they’re cognitively frail. 

Nevertheless, some provinces together with Ontario have lately revised their tips on treating outbreaks in long-term care houses. Now residents who develop a extreme COVID-19 should be transferred to hospital by ambulance.

Has the virus mutated considerably? 

All viruses naturally evolve by gathering mutations, which merely means there are modifications in its genetics.

The coronavirus “has mutated somewhat bit,” says Bogoch, “however that simply helps us perceive the place the virus is and the way lengthy it has been there.”

Scientific sleuths take a look at modifications within the genetic sequence of a virus to find out issues like how lengthy it has been in a single place in comparison with one other. 

“We regularly have this notion that mutation implies that one thing goes to get stronger or extra viral or extra harmful — that is not the case,” says Bogoch. “In truth, most mutations do nothing.”

Monday we answered questions about mattress contamination to road spraying.

Preserve your questions coming by emailing us at

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