Doctor separates COVID-19 fact from fiction

With all the uncertainty about the coronavirus, one North Texas expert is answering the questions many people have.

Dr. Diana Cervantes teaches at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. In 2014, she was the state’s chief epidemiologist during the ebola response.

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Q. Why are we seeing such a drastic response to the virus?

A. We have never seen this virus before, so that makes us completely susceptible, meaning we don’t have any immunity.

Q. How many people are asymptomatic carriers?

A. Unknown, which is why we’ve seen such an emphasis on social distancing.

Q. What counts as an underlying condition?

A. There are several things like diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, asthma, chronic cardiovascular disease and smoking.

Dr. Cervantes also talked about the risks this virus poses to young people.

“So, with this virus, you hear a lot people saying, ‘Okay, 80-85% of the cases show mild to moderate disease.’  Now I want to make it very clear, that that still means people with pneumonia when we talk about moderate disease. And as with any other disease, people who are young, yes, they’re more likely to have less severe symptoms. But you will have very severe reactions to an infection and that immune response can be overwhelming and it can cause death. So, it is definitely still very critical for people of any age to be very, very careful,” she said.

Finally, the doctor confirmed the best way for people to wash their hands is with good old-fashioned soap and water. Hand sanitizer is the next-best option.