Why can I shop without seeing my friends? Answers to your questions about COVID-19


We break down what you need to know about the pandemic by answering your questions. You can send us your questions by e-mail to [email protected], and we will reply to you as much as possible. We will post a selection of responses every day of the week on our website, and we will also ask some of your questions to the air experts during The National and CBC News Network. To date, we have received over 42,000 emails from across the country.

Why can I do grocery shopping, but I am not allowed to reunite with family and friends?

As the country’s provinces continue to reopen, we hear from many Canadians who wonder why certain activities are allowed while others are prohibited.

Lara B. wrote to ask why it was “okay to meet hundreds of strangers in a grocery store,” but meeting family and friends is still prohibited.

It is important to note that in some provinces, such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, you can choose a family with which you are in physical contact, but only if you agree to be exclusive.

In the native province of Lara, Ontario, however, households are still asked to stay with themselves. So why is family banned, but grocery stores are OK? The answer comes down to various risks of contact.

“The type of contact you have with people who are family and friends tends to be much more [more] prolonged than walking by someone in a [grocery] “Said Dr. Lisa Barrett, a professor at Dalhousie Medical School and an infectious disease researcher.

“This casual contact is much less risky than the type of contact we have with family and friends. “

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch agrees. “A lot of the data that has emerged shows that the greatest risk of getting this infection is in indoor environments where people are close,” he said.

Most grocery stores have implemented measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, such as limiting the number of people they enter the store at one time, installing Plexiglas in front of cashiers, and placing arrows on the floor to direct traffic and impose distancing.

If you see a small grocery store with “100 or more people,” you should let someone know, says Barrett, because it’s “too many people.”

Can flatulence carry COVID-19?

You’ve probably heard of the importance of keeping our coughs and sneezes for ourselves, but what about our other gases?

Jill G.’s grandson wants to know if flatulence can carry the virus. “After laughing, we agreed that it was a valid question,” she wrote.

The question also made some of our experts smile, but they all agreed that farts were unlikely to emit COVID-19.

The infectious disease doctors, Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti and Dr. Zain Chagla, both said that “very small” amounts of virus can be found in the stool of a few people.

Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta, said new research suggests that part of the virus may be potentially viable or cultivable.

But the real question, she said, is whether there is enough virus in the stool – and therefore in flatulence – for you to inhale.

“The volume of emissions [when someone passes wind] is much weaker than … the air in your chest, “said Saxinger. Your clothes can also provide an extra layer of protection.

“There is a bit of literature on this topic on bacteria, suggesting that underwear will filter out bacteria by flatulence. “

In the end, she said, the risk would be “really negligible and wouldn’t be a big concern”.

Can I get coronavirus through an open cut?

Janice R. wrote asking if you can get the virus from a cut.

“No, you can’t get it that way,” said Chakrabarti, a doctor specializing in infectious diseases at Trillium Health Partners.

“The virus only has the ability to enter the body through the respiratory mucosa, which is not present with a cut. “

Simply put, the types of cells the virus can bind to are “fairly specific” and the skin or blood cells are unlikely to trigger an infection, Saxinger said.

“The first stages of infection generally involve the virus coming into contact with the surface of a respiratory, ocular, oral or nasal membrane, binding to specific cell receptors and entering cells to cause infection”, a she said.

While the virus – or traces or fragments of the virus – can “be found in the blood,” Saxinger said it does not appear to be a blood-borne infection.

“People need to focus on protecting against the spread of respiratory droplets, like breathing in tight spaces. “

She said it is important for people to be aware that the virus can travel from their hands to their face, and therefore come into contact with membranes in the eyes, nose and mouth.

We also answer your questions every night about The National. Last night, we asked our medical specialists: HHow can I balance the risk of reopening with the harm of prolonged locking? Watch below:

Infectious disease specialist and psychiatrist answer questions on how to balance the risk of reducing COVID-19 restrictions with the damaging effects of prolonged blockages. 6:39

On Saturday, we answered your questions about the masks.

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


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