We know you have a lot of questions and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, that's why every Thursday, Dr. Rajeev Fernando is here to answer your COVID-19 questions.

Why are so many states seeing record numbers of COVID-19 cases? Could wearing a mask eradicate the virus, and should everyone be tested, even if they're not sick, or have been exposed to the virus? These are the questions we asked Dr. Rajeev Fernando this week.

I heard some doctor say this week that if 90% of people wore their masks when they were suppose to, then the pandemic would be over by now, would you say that statement is correct? 

"I think that's a huge point, but I can't say with certainty because if you really want to eradicate the virus, something even better than wearing a mask, is staying home. A lock down is the number one way that an entire community, city, or state can decrease its infections. Unfortunately, that's not possible right now, people have been inside for more than 10 weeks, and have to get back to their businesses, or want to go out. So without the possibility of another lock down, to me, a mask is the single most important way to curb the infection".

Sheila in Bethel asks, Connecticut and New York are looking good, but what's up with all these other states seeing a record number of cases recently? 

"I'm so glad you mentioned that, these are situations where Connecticut and New York have opened up based on science and epidemiology, they followed trends very closely, and because of that, they have been very successful. I've always talked about the traffic light system and sliding in, and sliding out. When we get to a phase of opening, we go green, but it's very important to pay close attention to what's going on. If things are starting to go wrong, and there's a spike in cases, then they should slide back into the yellow signal, say we're not ready, and go back. We are now seeing Connecticut and New York putting a quarantine order in effect, and that's very important to limit the spread of this virus".

Jim in Brookfield asks, even if you feel fine, and have not been exposed to the virus, should you still get tested, and should testing be mandatory?  

"This is a million dollar question. There's one test right now which is the nasal, what we call PCR test, and that is probably the best test if someone really wants to know if they have the virus. The antibody test that we have right now is very confusing for the patient, and the physician, sometimes. One day you have a positive antibody test, two days later you have a negative test. I don't feel it's ready for prime time yet, but there is some data coming out that says that once you have the infection, and you recover, you have antibody's for a few months, then it goes away. We're still learning from this antibody response, I haven't even done it yet myself because you have to ask yourself what are you looking for with the result, plus, am I even going to believe it with all the inconclusive data? Just remember, if you feel sick, you should definitely get the nasal test which has very good accuracy.

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