Should I microwave my mail? Your COVID-19 questions answered | CBC News

The information in this article was current at the time of publishing, but guidelines and advice can change quickly. Check with your local public health unit for the most-current guidance, and find the latest COVID-19 news on our website . We ‘re breaking down what you need to know about the pandemic by answering your questions. You can send us your questions via electronic mail at COVID @ cbc.ca and we ‘ll answer ampere many as we can. We ‘ll publish a survival of answers every weekday on our web site, and we ‘re besides putting some of your questions to the experts on the air during The National and on CBC News Network. thus far, we ‘ve received thousands of emails. Your questions have surprised us, stumped us and got us thinking, including a number of questions about what to do with your mail — in particular this interview from Claire L. :

Would putting letters in the microwave for a short time destroy the COVID-19 virus?

We ‘ve received a distribute of questions from people who want to know whether microwaves can be used to kill the novel coronavirus. According to a late study, the virus persists on some surfaces, including paper products such as cardboard for up to 24 hours. But Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners, says most people are infected when the virus enters their respiratory nerve pathway — not through the hide. “ theoretically, if person impertinently sneezes on the mail, you touch it and … immediately touch your nose or mouth, then it can infect you. But this is identical unlikely, ” he said.

Chakrabarti recommends opening mail as you would normally, but avoid touching your face. When you ‘ve finished with the mail, wash your hands immediately subsequently. And while heat can kill the virus, putting newspaper in the microwave is a open fire hazard, so do n’t do it.

I have read that putting food in the refrigerator and freezer can actually preserve the virus. Can your experts comment?

now that we ‘ve tackled microwaves, we ‘ll get to another kitchen appliance. This is a great follow-up wonder from Nancy S., who wants to know whether the virus can survive in her electric refrigerator or deep-freeze. We put that interrogate to Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. Unlike microwaves, freezers can preserve the virus, he said. “ It ‘s merely like thinking about clean kernel, ” said Furness. “ If you freeze it, it ‘ll stopping point for a farseeing time. It ‘s very alike to that. ” The BC Centre for Disease Control points out, however, “ there are no particular precautions needed when storing food. ” “ We recommend washing your hands after putting aside food you have purchased and before preparing food. ”

We are currently self-isolating in an effort to ‘flatten the curve.’ What markers are health experts using to determine if this is happening? Is there a plan as to when and how to relax restrictions?

After a few weeks of making significant sacrifices, many Canadians are wondering if we ‘ve done adequate to “ flatten the crook, ” including Sandra C. So how will health experts decide when our lives can get back to normal ? The major indicator, according to Mount Sinai infectious disease specialist Dr. Allison McGeer, would be the act of daily new cases. If that digit stays the same or goes gloomy, it could signal that we ‘re getting COVID-19 under control condition. however, she warns that if there is n’t adequate quiz, it could be an obstacle in determining whether the spread is slowing down. “ sol you ca n’t actually look every sidereal day and know for indisputable what ‘s going on, ” McGeer said.

As for when we can expect physical distance restrictions to be relaxed, a act of experts say it is hush excessively soon to tell. Ontario barely extended its country of emergency for another two weeks, and B.C. ‘s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said it is unlikely things will return to convention “ before at least the summer. ” “ And then we need to be preparing for the electric potential of a moment wave in the fall, ” said Henry.

What should parents do about shared custody arrangements? Is it safe for children to go between homes if both parents have been self-isolating and are healthy?

We are receiving many questions from parents who are trying to share detention during the pandemic, including Stephanie B., who wants to know if it ‘s condom for her children to travel between homes to spend clock time with both ma and dad. With all of the physical-distancing guidelines, it might be tempting to want to keep your child at one parent ‘s home long than convention. however, Vancouver lawyer Leena Yousefi said there is minimal risk in putting the child in a car and taking them to the early parent ‘s home. And if a preexistent woo order, agreement or arrangement is in place for children, parents need to comply with that. “ It ‘s a balance act, ” said Mahzulfah Uppal, a family lawyer in Brampton, Ont., who advises parents to contact a class lawyer for legal advice before deciding to change preexistent arrangements. “ With the help oneself of a lawyer, they can address concerns that they have regarding COVID-19, and the other parent ‘s demeanor to see if they can work out a proper arrangement for children under these conditions. ”

Are smokers putting others at risk? For example, if I am two metres away but the other person is smoking and I breathe in some of the smoke, can I get the virus in my lungs? What about vaping?

Public health experts are sounding the dismay about the possible connections between lung damage caused by smoking or vaping and increase vulnerability to COVID-19. There is tell that smoking not only leads to respiratory diseases and chronic lung conditions, but besides suppresses and harms the immune system, “ so that when people do get sick, they have a harder fourth dimension fighting it, ” said David Hammond, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Waterloo.

There is less research on the effects of vaping and risk of viral infection, but Hammond said people who vape regularly are exposing their respiratory tracts to different toxicants. “ We expect it to be much less than smoke, but it is potential that it hush increases susceptibility in terms of the badness of experiencing COVID-19, ” he said. As for whether second-hand fastball could transmit the virus, the experts we spoke to said they were not mindful of any research on the subject, but that such transmission was unlikely. “ Tobacco pot is besides fine [ of a ] particle size to likely carry the virus — vaping the like, ” said Neil Johnston, a register respiratory therapist and oral sex of the Manitoba Lung Association. But he emphasized the importance of avoiding second-hand smoke and maintaining the proper two-metre outdistance from everyone — including smokers. WATCH | Finance experts answer viewer questions on The National, including whether small businesses should take on debt in uncertain times:

Managing personal finance during the COVID-19 pandemic

Duration

7:37

finance experts answer viewer questions about coping during the COVID-19 pandemic including whether belittled businesses should take on debt with uncertain times ahead. 7:37