Are we close to antibody testing? Answers to your questions about COVID-19

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We answer your questions about the pandemic. Send your questions to [email protected] and we will reply to you as much as possible. We will post a selection of answers every day of the week online and ask some of your questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network.

We have received over 20,000 emails from across the country. Your questions surprised us, puzzled and made us think.

To what extent are we able to test antibodies?

Many Canadians, including Jeff T., wonder if we are able to test the new anti-coronavirus antibodies and how long it will take.

Antibody tests look for evidence of an immune response to the virus in the blood. When someone is infected with the coronavirus, the body produces specific antibodies to fight the infection. A rapid antibody blood test could also reveal who has been infected, even in asymptomatic cases.

Experts believe that anyone infected will at least have some immunity to reinfection, at least in the short term.

Rapid blood tests for antibodies are being done in Canada, but Health Canada has not yet approved their use during this pandemic. Health Canada told CBC News that it follows the guidelines of the World Health Organization, “which currently does not recommend [blood] clinical diagnostic tests. “

At least two Canadian companies sell these types of tests outside the country.

Some experts warn that antibody tests are not perfect and it is not because someone is positive for the antibodies that they have immunity. Learn more here.

Do we wait 4 weeks after our first CERB request or do we do it now?

We have received dozens of questions about the Canadian Emergency Response Assistance (CERB) claims, including this email from Jim in Toronto.

The short answer is that if you are eligible, you can request a second CERB payment from last weekend and do not need to wait four weeks from the time you made your initial request. But in the future, a four-week window will automatically apply.

The first window to apply for CERB was backdated to March 15, which is why the second window felt like it arrived so quickly. But in the future, it will take four weeks between each application window.

It is important to remember that even if the CERB will be open until October 3, candidates can only be paid for four benefit periods, up to a maximum of $ 8,000 (each payment in $ 2,000). But you will not receive the $ 2,000 if you apply every month until October.

Kelley Keehn, personal finance educator in Edmonton, said that CERB is “there to support” your income. “Maybe you lost your income one month, you had income another month. “

On Wednesday, the federal government relaxed restrictions on who is eligible to part-time, contract and seasonal workers.

You can stay up to date on all COVID-19 benefits of emergency response here.

Should you disinfect your hands if you wear surgical gloves?

This one comes from Ron K.

Experts warn that disposable gloves, like latex or vinyl, could provide a false sense of security. And if you touch your face with them, you are still at risk.

But if you’re going to wear them, that’s how the pulmonologist Dr. Samir Gupta uses them when he sees patients.

“I’m going to wash my hands first, then put on my gear, including my gloves,” he said.

Afterwards, Gupta says that he takes off his equipment, including his gloves, and washes his hands again.

The gloves, he said, are really intended for single use and not for prolonged or daily use.

“In the end, you want to stop touching your face,” said Gupta, “and because we all tend to slide, it’s a good idea to continue washing your hands.

“You can think of it like every time you wash your hands, you put on a new pair of gloves. “

WATCH | Dr Samir Gupta on gloves, soap and water:

Dr. Samir Gupta explains why most people would rather wash their hands with soap and water than wear gloves to protect themselves from COVID-19. 1:54

Will there be national relief for tenants? If yes, when?

Peter Armstrong, the CBC’s senior business correspondent, said that this is one of the most frequently asked questions.

Currently, there is no national tenant program, but almost all provinces have introduced some form of eviction freeze to ensure people are not evicted for not paying rent .

“It’s a bit of a patchwork, so it depends on where you are,” said Armstrong. “Some [provinces] found one-time payments or some sort of rent subsidy. ”

For those worried and struggling to pay the bills, “the main thing to do is educate yourself,” he said.

“Find the local tenant advocacy group, talk to your local MP, MP, local councilor and make sure you know your rights. “

Small homeowners who have tenants who can’t pay the rent should also be proactive and reach out, says Preet Banerjee, personal finance commentator.

“Speak, communicate, see if you can come up with a plan,” said Banerjee. “We are all in the same boat. “

On Tuesday, we answered questions about false negatives to properly wash your products. Lily here.

Keep asking your questions by writing to us at [email protected].

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