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.

This week, there's a lot of talk about COVID-19 spikes in other areas of the country, plus people are questioning the actual number of cases that are being reported. Is it too high, or is it too low? Dr. Rajeev Fernando, one of New York's top infectious disease specialists, addressed these issues during this week's segment.

Lee Ann in Bethel asks: Why are states like Connecticut and New York doing so well now, while other states that were doing great, are now seeing the highest numbers since the pandemic started?

"That's a great question. Connecticut and New York's reopening was based on science and epidemiology. At the start of the pandemic, as physicians, we had no guidance, no evidence or medicine, and this area was hit very hard. After other areas of the country reopened, prematurely, people became lackadaisical, and have this problem about wearing a mask, and I think that's where everything went wrong. What else can we do to convince these people that masks save lives?"

I heard some doctors say that if 90% of people wear a mask, we could have this virus eradicated in just a few weeks, do you agree with that statement? 

"I'm in complete agreement with that, it would really change things. My feel right now, is unfortunately, we're too late with this. The only thing that can save these infected states is another lock down. There's absolutely no way I can see these states lowering their numbers without a lock down. I like to think of it as a traffic light system, red, yellow, and green. The green light is go, but you should be able to slide back onto yellow, or red, based on the clinical situation".

Rob in Dover Plains asks: I've been hearing a lot about COVID-19 numbers being inflated. Since Dr. Fernando has an inside track on things, what can he tell me about this?

"Another great question, I don't have any inside connections, though, but I do think the exact number of cases and fatalities will really take about a year before we know the real numbers, especially in places like Texas, and Florida, where there is so much happening right now. I just find it impossible to have accurate statistics. Some of the possibilities are, say someone is in a nursing home facility and they have a positive test there, then they get admitted to the hospital and get a positive test there, so are they adding the cases twice? These are some of the possibilities, but I really think the accurate numbers will take about 12 months. I really feel there are more cases because a lot of people aren't getting tested. About 80-85% of patients have very mild illness, so much so that they don't think they need a test. What I'm seeing is patients with a routine cough, and some body pain, that accounts for about 85% of cases. But to answer the question, we should have a better idea, and more accurate numbers by next summer.

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