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Keep Windows Closed? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Viewer Questions On Coronavirus

BOSTON (CBS) - As the coronavirus spreads and continues to have a huge impact, many have reached out to Dr. Mallika Marshall with some questions.

Pete writes, "I am wondering if the unseasonably warm winter we had exacerbated the effect of the virus."

The answer is we don't really know. Other coronaviruses are sensitive to warm temperatures, humidity, and sunlight so the hope is that this novel coronavirus will be as well. Only time will tell. But you're right, the warmer winter temperatures has allowed us to get outside more and spend less time hunkered down in large groups in buildings where we are more likely to share germs.

Ken from Reading asks, "If someone is diagnosed with coronavirus, how long do they have to stay at home after their symptoms resolve?"

The CDC says that will be decided on a case by case basis. But according to the World Health Organization, people diagnosed with the illness caused by coronavirus, Covid-19, they should remain isolated for two weeks after symptoms resolve. That's because people can still shed virus even when they're feeling better.

Damon asks, "How long does the virus live in the air?"

When someone coughs or sneezes, they release as many as 3,000 tiny infected respiratory droplets that can linger in the air. It's unclear for how long...perhaps for several hours. Which is one reason for social distancing. But another big concern is that most droplets settle onto surfaces where the virus can survive for hours to several days.

On a related note, Florence on Facebook asks, "What is the controversy about opening your window while you are home? Some are saying Covid 19 requires you to keep your windows closed."

Many people have been asking if you're supposed to stay at home whether you have to confine yourself to the house of whether you can go outside. Most people can go outside. Go for a walk or a jog or a bike ride with family as long as you aren't congregating with others and touching public recreational equipment.

And yes, you can open your windows and get some fresh air. The virus is unlikely to enter your home through an open window unless someone is standing right outside the window coughing into your house.

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