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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.

Have you noticed there are so many mixed messages when it comes to Coronavirus? So, this week we asked Dr. Rajeev Fernando to set the record straight with some listener questions about masks and back to school.

Lisa in Danbury asks: "I know you talk all the time about wearing a mask, then why do I hear some doctors still saying it's not necessary to wear one. Am I missing something?"

"We've seen clearly the methods that work in places where they have been able to decrease their COVID-19 numbers, like Connecticut, is wearing a mask and social distancing. We've seen that, to be the most effective way to prevent these type of infections. Moving a little bit ahead, I also think this year we will have less flu cases, that's another respiratory virus, and by wearing a mask right now it's going to be a double whammy. Not only is it going to take care of COVID-19, but I'm pretty convinced that people that wear a mask will have a lesser chance at getting influenza this winter."

"By wearing a mask, and always washing our hands, are we actually weakening our immune systems because we are preventing the normal bacteria that we come in contact with on a daily basis, from getting into our system?" 

"Great question, I love your thought process. Here's the deal, we have certain bacteria that live on our skin, so the problem we're facing right now is we don't want the bacteria from the COVID-19 virus to infect anyone, so that's the one concession. I think in general washing your hands is just good practice."

Colleen in New Milford asks: "We've been having a big debate in town about sending the kids back to school, as an infectious disease specialist, do you think it's safe to send the kids back to school?"

"I'm in complete agreement about re-opening schools in Connecticut, however it's not the right time for states like Florida, and Texas. You know, those states that are experiencing COVID-19 spikes. Things are changing on a day-to-day basis, but it's about keeping everyone safe, and we need to move forward. I don't think it's a good idea to keep kids at home, but in certain situations we have to make regional recommendations. For towns in Connecticut, I really think we should start planning and shoot for sending students to school this fall."

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