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A regional public media collaboration serving the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The Mountain West News Bureau Answers Your COVID-19 Questions


Your Questions About COVID-19, Answered 

Our reporters are working hard to answer your questions about COVID-19. These responses are curated by the  Mountain West News Bureau and our public media partners at America Amplified. (Updated 4/23/20)

Follow any link below to jump ahead to a specific question and answer. You can submit your question or share your story here

Jump to latest Q and As

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Q:" Close contact" is used a lot these days. Could you define what it means, please?-Claire V., Idaho.  

A:Among infectious disease experts, “close contact” has a specific definition. 

“When we talk about ‘close contact” with someone who has been diagnosed with infection, we’re talking about 10 minutes of contact within six feet,” says Dr. Preeti Malani, Professor of Medicine and Chief Health Officer at the University of Michigan. 

Q: What’s the plan for the family members who live with those who are immune compromised?As we in Utah, and nationally make plans for "opening up" our economy, it's always with the caveat that vulnerable populations must continue to shelter in place, and take extreme precautions.  I’m immune compromised. How does self-isolating help when my daughter returns to school, or my husband is ordered back to the office? Not all immune compromised in our population are retired and have the luxury of self-isolation.-Hoan N., Utah

A: First off, the relaxing of stay-at-home directives will be done in stages and are contingent on people keeping socially distanced.

"There's not going to be a ribbon cutting and everything that has been closed or different will go back to the way it was two months ago," says Kim Deti, spokesperson for the Wyoming Department of Health. "In each phase, there will be judgement calls for families to make."

Deti recommends that immunocompromised individuals should continue to only leave their homes if absolutely necessary. And, if a family member is called back into work, they should follow CDC guidelines and make sure to wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and to maintain social distancing. She also recommends they wear face masks. See thisstory for more detail. 

Q: Say our children are asymptomatic or never show symptoms but have actually had coronavirus, could a genetic component then make a parent asymptomatic or also never show symptoms?I just would like to know if there are more genetic components to this. Gia T., Idaho 

A: Scientists don’t yet know whether there’s a genetic factor associated with asymptomatic infections, says Dr. Preeti Malani, Professor of Medicine and Chief Health Officer at the University of Michigan. Without widespread testing for COVID-19 antibodies, there’s not enough data on this subject yet. 

“As we learn more and we actually have a useful, validated serology [antibody] test, we might be able to go backwards and figure that out,” says Dr. Malani. “Only at that point would be we able to trace back and identify genetic factors.”  

Q: Does second-hand smoke carry COVID-19? If yes, how far will it travel?

A:“I’m not aware that second-hand smoke could carry COVID-19,” says Dr. Malani. “But if you are close enough to someone to breathe in their cigarette or other smoke, you might be close enough to get infected from them.” 


Q: I am curious how 'sick' most people who have contracted COVID–19 are? I hear a lot about the symptoms and the severe cases, although less about what most people experience who contract this. I am also curious how many people have recovered from it. --Soren N., Colorado

A:Because of a lack of testing, we don’t have a good picture of how many people are carrying the virus and how many people have recovered right now (as of 4/17/20). That said, the Coronavirus Research Center at John Hopkins University has confirmed more than 25,000 recoveries in the U.S. A recent studyfrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, overall, more than 99 percent of COVID–19 cases do not require hospitalization. That said, infections can range from asymptomatic to severe, flu-like symptoms including chills, body aches, a dry cough, and a sore throat.

Q: How do I know if my job is considered essential ? My employer said she couldn’t lay me off. -Kasey M. Idaho 

A: There is no national stay-at-home order, and thus no national standards for essential workers (as of 4/15/20). So states and in some cases, municipalities have been making their own decisions. In Idaho, for example, essential services includehardware stories, firearm businesses, and oil refining. In Colorado, the list of critical businessesincludes crematoriums, vehicle rental agencies, and animal shelters. Still, many businesses are uncertain whether allof their operations are allowed to continue, or only some. For example, in Colorado, car retail sales are no longer allowed, but car dealerships that perform vehicle maintenance are considered a critical business. In Idaho, car dealerships overall are considered essential. And most states don’t have a list of specific employee titles that are considered essential workers. If a business is defined as essential by a state, then typically it’s up to each company to decide which and how many employees it needs to carry out those critical functions. 

Q: Are the deceased tested? Could fatalities from COVID-19 be higher than reported?-Petra, Idaho

A: As of April 15, given the shortage of novel coronavirus tests nationwide, most areas are not testing individuals who die outside of a hospital setting. “We don’t have enough tests to test the deceased,” says Dr. Christine Porter,professor of public health at the University of Wyoming. “Ideally we would. We don’t have that information yet because we don’t have the tests.”  

In New York City, deaths from COVID-19 were likely underreported before April 7, according to a report from WNYCand Gothamist. The city saw a huge surge of deaths occurring at home, but because the deceased were not necessarily tested for novel coronavirus, those individuals were not included in the city’s total death toll. New York has since revised the number of presumbed COVID-19 deaths to include those who died without being tested. 

Q: Can a tenant stop a landlord from hosting open houses during the pandemic? 

A:Maybe. Real estate agencies are considered essential businesses under stay-at-home orders in much of the Mountain West. Under some state laws, a tenant cannot unreasonably stop a landlord from showing a rental house to prospective buyers or the realtor. But the pandemic may constitute grounds for a reasonable request to stop someone from entering a unit. Read more about that here.

Q: What is the survival rate for a COVID-19 patient who is placed on a ventilator?  

A:This coronavirus is so new that there’s not strong data yet to know, but early studies suggest that the prognosis for ventilator patients is not good. NPR reportedthat studies from the UK, China, and Italy showed that a majority of patients placed on ventilators did not recover.  The UK studyfound that only 33 out of 98 patients who were placed on ventilators were discharged from the hospital alive. 

“Any outlook for people who have been on ventilators for more than 4-5 days is not good,” saysDr. May Chu, clinical professor at the Colorado School of Public Health.“It’s traumatic. You’re putting something into them, physiologically it’s not good.” 

Q: What has helped those in other countries recover from the virus? -Julio B., Wyoming

A:Epidemiologist Tim Sly says there are early examples of Asian countries that seem to be managing the virus relatively well. For example, Taiwan. On March 25th the country had 235 confirmed cases. “They were so prepared, and anticipating this,” says Sly.  He points to strict government-imposed controls on travelers. Health officials would board a plane right after landing to take passenger temperatures. The country does extensive testing. If someone tests positive, they’re put into isolation at a government facility, and supplied with care and food until they recover. 

But Taiwan, and also China to some extent, have government-imposed rules that are perhaps less palatable for Western countries, Sly says. “If you escape from quarantine, there’s a very big fine. There’s much greater control. But you wonder if that’s only done in those cultures where they are more compliant and following instructions.” 

Q: Is COVID-19 a seasonal virus, like the flu? 

A: Because this virus hasn’t been around for long yet, we don’t know. There are other, similar viruses, like season influenza, that tend to show up in the winter and disappear by summer. But the SARS epidemic was different, says epidemiologist Tim Sly.

“We didn’t see a lot of seasonality with that one. In fact the second wave of SARS in Toronto occurred in June. So with this coronavirus, we just have to wait and see.”

Q: People are walking around and not realizing that they are infected and are broadcasting the virus on surfaces. Is it not true that if everyone (infected or not) wore a makeshift mask, thick scarf or something that acts as a shield combined with keeping our distance, it could help flatten the curve? -Wayne S., Idaho 

A: The CDC released new recommendationsthat everyone wear cloth face coverings in public settings where it’s hard to socially distance. As this listener points out,  many people who get this virus are asymptomatic, or presymptomatic. 

“Now this makes it very, very difficult for public health to control,” says epidemiologist Tim Sly, an emeritus professor at Ryerson University.  “If you can see that somebody is ill, and they’ve got a fever, obviously they’re ill separate them from the rest of the public. But in this case, we know that there’s an awful lot of people who have the virus and they don’t know it, or they don’t know it yet. 

Dr. Sly says studies that show between 25 and 40 percent of people who tested positive for the coronavirus did not have symptoms. And he points out that wearing a cloth face covering may not protect you. But if you’re an asymptomatic carrier, wearing the mask can definitely help prevent you from accidentally spreading the virus to others. And the more people who are out in public wearing masks, the more normal it will become. 

Q: I was wondering with the shortage of (N95) masks and nurses having to wear the same one mask all day or worse, can nurses.. just spray their masks down with the isopropyl alcohol, let it dry off and then be good to go the next day? -Dee D., Utah 

A:“The evidence is scant,” saysDr. May Chu, clinical professor at the Colorado School of Public Health.“There are some assumptions that masks can be reused. But it also has to do with the context in which its been exposed.”  

Dr. Chu says you wouldn’t want to reuse an N95 mask that you knew was heavily contaminated with COVID-19, even if you sterilized it. 

Some hospitals have specialty equipment that uses UV light or aerosolized hydrogen peroxide to sterilize equipment, including masks. A simple spray of isopropyl alcohol might not cut it-- it could sterilize the exterior of the mask, but not reach its inner nooks and crannies. 

Q: Will there be aid for gig workers, freelancers or hourly employees who are forced not to work but don’t have salaries or paid time off to cover our expenses? I work in the video/photography production industry as a freelancer. One of main concerns is how the pandemic will affect my ability to get work, not because I am sick, but because of the precautions being taken to keep people safe. -Anonymous

A:Yes. Under the CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief package signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, freelancers and gig workers who lose work because of COVID-19 will be eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks, according to the National Writers Union, a union group for freelance writers. 

“We recommend being as specific as possible about the loss of work and income, and why that loss was a direct result of the outbreak – how many jobs/how much you were earning previously, when those jobs/income fell off, what triggered that fall-off (e.g. a shelter-in-place order, the closure of certain publications, declarations of emergency in certain states), and how much income/how many jobs you have lost,” writesLarry Goldbetter of the National Writers Union. 

Freelancers should receive about half of their state’s average weekly unemployment insurance benefit. They will also be eligible for an additional $600 a week under the CARES Act. 

Q: How are tribal governments preparing for COVID-19?Do they have unique resource needs or challenges (compared to, say, county or municipal governments)? Are those needs being met? -Katie M., Idaho

A:Most tribal governments rely on the federal government for health care as part of the U.S.’s trust responsibility to tribes. Unfortunately, the Indian Health Service has been chronically underfunded for decades and Indigenous people are at higher risk of complications from COVID–19 due to pre-existing medical conditions. This has prompted the CEO of the National Congress of American Indians to say the novel coronavirus could be “a recipe for a disaster”for nations, particularly rural reservations in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains regions. That said, Congress is pumping millions of dollars into the Indian Health Service to help prevent a surge of patients. However, layers of bureaucracy are making it hard to translate that money into much-needed medical equipment.

Q: Can the virus be transferred on surfaces? How long can it survive on surfaces? 

A: The virus can survive on hard surfaces such as stainless steel or plastic for up to 72 hours. It can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, according to this study. If an infected person coughs on a doorknob or counter, you can contract the coronavirus by touching that surface and then touching your nose, eyes or mouth. That’s why good handwashing is so important. 

Q: How advisable, or necessary, or beneficial, is it to put on clean clothes every day? I like to wear pants and shirts for several days running since they don't dirty. –  MacArthur E. 

A:It’s probably a good idea to ramp up your laundry practices right now, because there are still a lot of unknowns about how long the virus survives on surfaces like fabric or carpet. 

NPR spoke toan infectious disease expert who said, based on prior research, "flat surfaces and hard surfaces are more friendly to viruses than cloth or rough surfaces."

If you leave the house, it’s not a bad idea to change and promptly launder clothes when you come home, in addition to washing your hands. 

Q: I was wondering if I need to take special precautions when eating raw vegetables? Wayne S., Idaho 

A:  According to the USDA, “We are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.”

That said, you should take extra precautions when returning from a grocery trip. Of course, wash your hands. But it’s also not a bad idea to promptly launder reusable grocery bags, and the clothes you wore to the store. You can also wipe down purchased items with a  disinfectant to be safe. 

Q: Is it possible for my pet to have the virus on her hair after being groomed by an infected groomer, and then transferring the virus to me? Thomas, Idaho

A: According to the CDC, “At this time, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets.” 

Q: I’ve been diagnosed with COPD for four years and I’m 59 years old. Would it be wise for me to take a break from being a cashier at a high volume liquor store at this time? I feel fine and I’d like to keep it that way. David F., Idaho

A: The CDC recommends that those at higher risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19 stay home as much as possible, including those with COPD. Here are more recommendations from the COPD Foundation.  

Q: I've heard that the mortality rate for diabetics is higher than the baseline for COVID-19. What are the causes of this increased risk? Are there any additional precautions that should be taken beyond the typical recommendations for everyone right now? Sean W., Idaho 

It’s true that people with diabetes are at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. The American Diabetes Associationsays, “In general, people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with a virus. If diabetes is well-managed, the risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19 is about the same as the general population.” The CDC says people in high risk categoriesshould take extra precautions by staying home as much as possible. 

Q: After recovering from COVID-19, are you immune or can you get it a second time? 

A: According to a report in Science News, people who have already had the virus are unlikely to get it again, at least not immediately: "Scientists aren’t yet sure how long people infected with COVID-19 remain immune, but so far it seems that they aren’t readily reinfected.”

However, the science and research around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and we don’t have conclusive answers yet about reinfection. The study that Science News looked at is only a preliminary report, and, like a lot of COVID-19 research, has not yet been peer-reviewed. 

NPR interviewed a number of scientists about reinfection, and the takeaway is that previously infected people may have some immunity, but that may fade over time. 

Q: If we are still being as careful as possible, yet still going to work in the community and going to meetings and going to stores and visiting other family, is it safe to visit my 91-year-old mother at her home, or it is wiser to not be entering her virus-free domain and visiting outside on the porch and over text and FaceTime instead? David C. 

A: The  CDC recommends older adults stay home and maintain at least six feet from others, so it’s best to keep your distance from elderly people right now. But do keep texting and video chatting! We can all help support each other by checking in, as safely as possible, with those who are high risk.  

Q: If someone has coronavirus but is asymptomatic, will they ever show symptoms? Or does it just take longer for the symptoms to show?  Coen J., Idaho

A:There is early evidence that suggests that people who are asymptomatic carriers may experience loss of a sense of smell and taste, according to a New York Times report. Those people may or may not eventually show more serious symptoms. 

Q: My husband was in the United Kingdom for an eight-day business trip. He returned on Wednesday the 11th. My son returned from Seattle, WA on the 14th since his school is closed and they are finishing finals online. It would have been nice if they would test my husband and son since they both came from hot spots, but since they have no symptoms I don't know if they will test them.  Do you know or think they should be tested? Lauren, Idaho

A:CDC has guidancefor who should be tested, but decisions about testing are at the discretion of state and local health departments and/or individual clinicians. As of March 25, in most states, testing is only available for individuals with symptoms, and in some cases, who are also at high risk for complications. 

The CDC recommends a number of precautionsif you’ve recently returned home from travel, depending on where you’re coming from. 

Q: Does refrigeration or freezing kill the virus? Kim M., Wyoming

A:As of March 24, there’s no research about how long COVID-19 can persist in cold environments. But we can glean some insights into how the virus might act when refrigerated or frozen based on studies about other coronaviruses. According to the World Health Organization, “In general, coronaviruses are very stable in a frozen state according to studies of other coronaviruses, which have shown survival for up to two years at -20°C.”  

Evidence about other kinds of coronaviruses also shows that they can be destroyed by high heat of normal cooking temperatures (70°C). 

According to the WHO, “Studies conducted on SARS-CoV ad MERS-CoV indicate that these viruses can persist on different surfaces for up to a few days depending on a combination of parameters such as temperature, humidity and light.”  

Q: Does having had the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine help lessen the impact of COVID-19?

A:Getting a flu shot or other vaccines won’t protect you against COVID-19, as the flu and the coronavirus are different infections (This NPR storyoutlines how COVID-19 is different from the flu). But, importantly, the more community-wide protection there is against the flu, the less likely it is that someone with serious complications from the flu will need to go to the hospital. And that’s important right now, because hospital resources and beds are limited in many areas.  

Q: I was originally planning to fly to Vermont in July, but have canceled that ticket. Now, I am wondering about my scheduled trips to the Wood River Valley in April and eastern Oregon in early June. In fact, is traveling at all, regardless of the mileage distance, a good idea at this point? Alan C., Idaho

As of right now (March 25), there are no prohibitions against domestic travel, but the CDC has a list of considerationsyou should take into account before any trip. There are also CDC travel guidelinesspecific for international travel. It’s hard to make plans for months in advance right now, before we know just how much the virus has spread. That said, if you decide to travel, make sure you take stepsto protect yourself and others. 

Q: The state and public health districts so far have reported confirmed COVID cases and deaths. Is any agency reporting COVID hospitalizations? This seems like an important metric for understanding the severity of confirmed cases and their impact on regional health case systems. Katie M., Idaho

A: In the Mountain West as of March 25, only Colorado has begun reporting hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients. You can see those numbers, as well as the number of total cases and tested patients state-by-state on this graph

Q: I was in Seattle for a week around Christmas. Came home with cold like symptoms—low fever for about two weeks along with burny mouth and throat, runny nose, congestion, etc. The fever is gone but all the symptoms are still here. I am 78 and have kidney disease. Is it possible that this was/is coronavirus with slightly different symptoms? And should I be tested? Mary R. 

A:Since many symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of the cold or flu, it’s hard to know after recovering from sickness if you were infected specifically by the coronavirus. But the timing of your sickness might be a clue. The first case in the U.S. was not reported until January, according to this timetablefrom the New York Times. 

The CDC recommends that anyone with symptoms like a cough and a fever self quarantine right now, for at least 14 days.  

Q: I am a student where spring break has just started … I have transportation, am healthy, and would like to help those who are struggling around the Treasure Valley. How can I safely volunteer and help people in my community while I have this extra free time? Khurrem G., Idaho

A:One thing that healthy people who are not in high-risk categories can do is give blood. The American Red Cross says blood is in short supply right now(March 25) as many blood drives at universities and corporate offices have been cancelled. 

You can also join a Facebook group to find out about needs in your local area. (Search “COVID 19 Mutual Aid group” and your state or city.) 


Q: What is coronavirus and COVID-19?

A: Coronaviruses are a large family of virusesthat can cause illness in animals and people. Some of those are responsible for the common cold, while others can lead to severe diseasessuch as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or COVID-19.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes a disease that has been named coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019. You may have seen it referred to as a “novel coronavirus” or “the new coronavirus,” meaning it had not been previously identified. 

From WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Q: Who is at risk?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes — are at higher risk for serious illness. If you have lung problems and are over age 60, you should be cautious of going anywhere for any reason at all, according to Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive with Community Health Network in Indianapolis.

Kids seem less vulnerable, so far. The CDC recommends everyone take steps to prevent the spread of the virus: frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact.


Even if you aren’t in a high-risk group, taking these steps will help protect people who are. 

From Side Effects Public Media .

Q: How does the virus spread? 

A: Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, says the CDC. So, people coughing and sneezing into the air, or into their hands and then touching surfaces, can spread the virus — based on the information the CDC and World Health Organization have at the moment. 

The WHO says the risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, so it’s completely possible to contract the virus from someone with a mild cough and who isn’t feeling ill. 

On March 13, NPR reportedthat a new study found the virus can live up to 72 hours on steel, plastic and cardboard, in ideal lab conditions.

However, researchers aren't sure how long droplets of the new coronavirus remain infectious on phones, but similar coronaviruses can survive on surfaces from a few hours up to a few days, depending on the environment, according to the WHO.

But public health officials sayto keep your distance from people and don’t kiss. 

From Side Effects Public Media .

Q: What is community spread?(Updated March 14)

A: “Community exposure is when the person presents and we really can’t identify how they got sick,” Dr. Sharon Watkins said at a Pennsylvania Department of Health press conference. “Which means that — if they weren’t traveling internationally, if they weren’t somewhere in another state, if they didn’t have close contact with another case — they must have gotten it from the virus circulating in the community that we haven’t been testing or identifying.”

From WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Q: What is contact tracing? (Updated March 14)

A: After a person tests positive for the coronavirus, health officials reach out to people who may have been exposed. Those individuals will be assessed and may also be tested for the virus. This is done to help control the spread of the virus. You can read more about how the process works here.

From WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Q: How do I prepare for COVID-19?

A: Similar to how you should prepare for the flu: stock up on food and water, as well as any daily medications for three weeks. This isn’t because health officials think there’s going to be a run on grocery stores, but instead, because if you have COVID-19, you should avoid going into crowds — a concept called “social distancing.”

Have your go-to sick food: chicken or vegetable broth, and hydrating drinks like Pedialyte and Gatorade. That's because if you do get sick, you want to be ready to ride it out at home if need be. So far, 80% of COVID-19 cases have been mild. 

From Side Effects Public Media

Also, practice basic hygiene:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often, such as light switches, cellphones and countertops.
  • If you are sick, stay home.

From WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Q: As schools are closing across the country, how can we communicate with our children to help them fully understand coronavirus and COVID-19? (Updated March 14)

Editor’s note : NPR has created a comic that helps kids, and the rest of us, understand what’s going on. 

A: “Let them know it's actually very similar to the cold or the flu … And they will actually do just fine from it. So they'll have similar symptoms to a typical cold or typical flu, they'll have runny nose, cough, sore throat, fevers, just might feel sluggish for a few days and they'll get over it. The biggest thing is that when they get in touch with their grandparents, if their grandparents catch it from them, we have no treatment.”  

Source: Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive with Community Health Network in Indianapolis. From Side Effects Public Media.

Q: What symptoms should I look for? 

A: The most common symptoms of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization in a reportdrawing on more than 70,000 cases in China:

  • Fever (in 88% of cases) 
  • Dry cough (68%) 
  • Fatigue (38%) 
  • Sputum/phlegm production (33%)
  • Shortness of breath occurred in nearly 20% of cases, and about 13% had a sore throat or headache.

Source: World Health Organization

Q: What does “self quarantine” mean? (Updated 3/13/20)

A: If you think you may have coronavirus, you should be prepared to self-quarantine in your home for up to two weeks. Lenny Marcus, co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard, told WBUR, “You want to get into a place where you’re confined,” he said. “Be ready to be there by yourself without social contact for up to two weeks. It’s useful, therefore, to plan what you do, where you would go, and then how you would maintain yourself for those two weeks.” In a room with its own bathroom, stock up on essentials and plan to hunker down, watch TV and have food delivered to the door. You should wear a mask if you are in contact with anyone and monitor yourself for symptoms. 

From WBUR, Boston .

Q: Can I boost my immune system to help fight the spread of coronavirus? (Updated March 16)

A:  “As long as you’re eating a healthy to normal diet, that’s all we can do… A lot of people get this false sense of security: ‘I’m taking my zinc and vitamin D and vitamin E, so I’m in great shape, so I don’t need to worry about it.’ So people tend to think that they’re safe if they do certain activities like that. We have no proof of that.”

Source: Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive with Community Health Network in Indianapolis. From Side Effects Public Media.

Q: Any suggestions for churches with large congregations that mix children and older people? How about the continuation of congregation-wide meals, like potluck dinners or Easter meals? (Updated March 13)

A: “If you have lung problems and are over 60, you should be cautious of going anywhere for any reason at all. Outside of that, though, what churches and other people should be doing is trying to maximize what we call ‘social distancing.’ So if you're able to have a congregational place where people could sit about three feet apart, have a lot of hand sanitizers that still allows for you to be able to help the congregation.” 

Source: Ram Yeleti, chief physician executive with Community Health Network in Indianapolis. From Side Effects Public Media.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit .

Amanda Peacher is an Arthur F. Burns fellow reporting and producing in Berlin in 2013. Amanda is from Portland, Oregon, where she works as the public insight journalist for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She produces radio and online stories, data visualizations, multimedia projects, and facilitates community engagement opportunities for OPB's newsroom.
Amanda Peacher
Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.
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