Top Doctor on COVID Symptoms, Rapid Tests + Co-existing Cases
Dr. Rajeev Fernando is one of New York's top infectious disease specialists, and this week he talks about COVID-19 symptoms, rapid tests and the possibility of a "twindemic".
When you need to know what's happening with the coronavirus, join KICKS 105.5 every Thursday morning. Dr. Rajeev Fernando answers your COVID-19 questions.
Karen in Roxbury wants to know if you can get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
"Absolutely, you know the first round, earlier in the year, we didn't see what we call coexisting cases, that's when you have influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. This winter season, it's something we're going to have to watch, but certainly it can happen".
That makes sense, especially since the CDC just came out this week and said we could see as many as 2900 deaths a day by mid-December.
"Usually it starts pretty slow, I'm not expecting too many deaths right now, but it's very early in the season. We haven't seen any flu cases circulating right now, but even as the CDC points out, it is early in the flu season. December and January are the two worst months for the flu."
You're traveling all around the world preaching to people to wear a mask, but I've heard from a few experts that one mask may not be enough to protect you from the virus, what are you thoughts on this?
"Right now, there's absolutely no data to confirm the two mask rule, so by using another layer of a mask is not going to do anything, or offer another layer of protection."
Natalie in Danbury wants to know when we will be able to see more of the rapid tests become available, and are those rapid tests accurate?
"Great question, rapid tests are about to flood the market, millions and millions of tests will be available very soon. As far as the accuracy of the rapid test, it's not great, but it does depend on the rapid test. Some of them are 80 percent sensitive, some go into the nineties, but in general, the theory is that rapid tests aren't as good as PCRs, the nasal test. If someone is symptomatic, and we're concerned with COVID-19, and the rapid test is negative, I would just go with the PCR, which is more accurate. At this point, the data we have right now is far from perfect, but if I'm suspicious that a patient really has coronavirus, I would still do the second test, and then make the diagnosis."
Let's talk about symptoms, what should people look for to be able to tell if they may have the flu, or COVID-19.
"It's really fever, chills, a dry cough, a lot of fatigue and muscle pain, but that's the way both virus' present, and it's indistinguishable initially. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath and cough, but once again both virus' present that way. They both can cause pneumonia, so when you have those symptoms, you really need to be tested for both, that's the only way around it. There are new tests that are out that you can actually test for both virus' in one swab, so that's important to know moving into the season, that will become the standard of care."