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.

With the fall approaching fast, there are many COVID-19 questions as cold and flu season returns as well. That's why Dr. Rajeev Fernando has answers to your questions.

Tanya from Dover Plains asks: "In your professional opinion, how bad do you think things will get around here in the fall and winter with cold and flu season returning as well?"

It's a great question, and I have to be very frank. When I first saw this virus last winter, I actually proclaimed that this would be a winter virus, and that when the weather warms up it will probably go away because it had all the characteristics of a winter virus. Now, I have to eat my own words, like many of the physicians around the country. We just didn't have all the information, but now we know it seems like it's going to be a year long infection. I do think things will be getting a little worse because of the cold, and we are also going to have the influenza virus to deal with as well. There haven't been many studies to show how bad it could be with COVID-19 and influenza co-existing at the same time, so yes, I would say it will be more severe, so that's why it's so important to wear a mask.

"If someone has a cold, and maybe a cough too, but doesn't feel that bad, do you think they should go for a test"?

Things have changed a lot right now. Ordinarily, last year when we didn't have COVID, it was a different story. Right now, I think if you are starting to have those symptoms, it could be from the COVID-19 virus, even though it may not progress into a severe case. It's still probably worth getting tested if you have these symptoms.

Lynn in Newtown asks: "There were a bunch of students at UCONN asked to leave the campus for not following the schools COVID-19 protocol, is there a safe way to still have them dorm and not pass this virus around?"

Another great question. Unfortunately, a dorm is equivalent to a movie theater, a concert arena, or a Broadway theater, even a nursing home. These are areas where you have a lot of people congregating and it's really scary in those kind of situations. I would be a little uncomfortable right now about opening dorms to students. This is how these infections spread, when one gets it, then it can spread very, very quickly. It's important to wear masks and practice social distancing, but these are the kind of hybrid situations that I would suggest to avoid right now, and if you can't avoid it, then you must wear a mask and do the social distancing. Remember to be extremely cautious, and quarantine when it may be necessary.

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