Coronavirus questions answered: Is it safe to open your mail amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Speaking via Skype from Orlando, Fla., on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday, infectious disease expert Dr. Dena Grayson answered your questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

Question: Is it safe to open your mail amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Dr. Grayson said, “You have to assume that everything outside of your house has coronavirus on it.”

She then said, as she referenced a study that was published on Tuesday, that the novel coronavirus can “be viable longer on a metal surface potentially up to three days and then on cardboard or paper it’s a little more variable, somewhere perhaps up to 24 hours.”

She recommended using rubber gloves to retrieve mail and washing hands with soap and water after looking through it. She also said it is important not to touch your face during the process.

Question: Is it a public risk to use swimming pools and hot tubs?

Dr. Grayson said the “virus would be diluted out in the swimming pool” and likely “deactivated” in hot tubs.

She said, still, one must think about the “doorknob or that gate as you’re on the way to the swimming pool. That has a lot more risk than the swimming pool or the hot tub.”

She warned that anything a person touches with their fingers and then touches their face can cause one to catch the novel coronavirus.

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Question: Is it safe to buy produce that is not in plastic?

“Of course we want everyone to be eating their fresh fruits and vegetables so just like you really should do any time you buy produce, when you come home, you should wash that produce,” Grayson said. She then went on to note that there are products available that have a little soap in it.

“If you don’t have those products you can actually just use regular dish soap, really diluted down and just wash the produce, rinse it well with water and you should be good to go,” she said.

Question: How diluted should the soap be when washing produce?

Dr. Grayson said a couple of drops would suffice, adding that “it doesn’t take much to really destroy this virus.”

“This virus has a layer of fat around it, so the good news is is that soap really destroys that,” she explained.

Question: Since coronavirus affects the respiratory system, is there a chance the pneumonia shot will benefit those who got it?

Dr. Grayson said while the pneumonia shot is very effective in protecting people from pneumococcus, which she said is a type of bacteria that can cause pneumonia, it doesn’t protect people from the coronavirus.

She went on to say that, like the flu shot, the pneumonia shot is important for people to have, especially those at risk, because it reduces their chances of getting pneumonia and therefore, reduces their chances of having to go to the hospital where they could potentially be exposed to someone who has the coronavirus.

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“Although the flu shot or the pneumonia shot don’t help against coronavirus, they are important to get,” she said.

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