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Can Air Conditioners Spread Coronavirus? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Questions

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts is in the surge of coronavirus cases and the public has plenty of questions. Dr. Mallika Marshall answered some of those sent to WBZ-TV's FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts.

Can I use my acrylic winter gloves instead of the medical gloves to protect against coronavirus? I would wash them after each use. - Anne-Marie on Facebook

Some experts don't recommend gloves for the general public, afraid it might give them a false sense of security. I think it's fine as long as you remember that your gloves are potentially contaminated. So don't touch your face with them. Remove the gloves as soon as you get home. And wash them after each use. And remember, it's easy to contaminate yourself when removing gloves, so you have to wash your hands well after you take them off.

Are they using immunotherapy to treat COVID-19? - Leslie

Immunotherapy typically refers to an approach to boost the immune system to treat or prevent cancer. But scientists are also looking at ways to manipulate the immune system to treat or prevent COVID-19. One way would be in the form of a vaccine that would train the immune system to recognize the virus to fight it before you get sick. Another is to use the antibody-rich plasma of patients who have recovered from the disease and give it to sick patients to help them fight the infection.

If you get the virus, do you have a certain amount of time you're immune to it? - Edward on Facebook

We know that many people who get infected develop antibodies to the virus but we don't know if those antibodies protect people from getting the virus again or for how long they might be protected, if at all.

In a letter in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers said they found that nine people sitting near one another at a restaurant in China in January got COVID-19 and that it likely spread because of the restaurant's air-conditioner. What are your thoughts? - Helen on Facebook

There were some limitations with the study, but it raises some concerns. The study suggests that smaller respiratory droplets could be blown around by air conditioning but not terribly far. It will have implications for how restaurants will prepare to reopen. For example, social distancing will remain important and tables may need to be spread further apart. As for your home, air conditioning is probably fine. But if someone is sick, opening the windows can improve ventilation.

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