Answering 3 popular questions about coronavirus outbreak

Dr. Frank McGeorge gets verified answers about coronavirus

Coronavirus (WDIV)

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Click here if you want to submit a question about the coronavirus.

Dr. Frank McGeorge will continue to work to get the most accurate information available on the outbreak. Remember, this is a dynamic situation, so he will keep you updated as things evolve.

Here are three questions we received from viewers.

Connection to flu shot, pneumonia vaccine?

Local 4 received three questions from Pontiac, Highland Township and Fraser about where or not the flu shot or pneumonia vaccine can prevent a coronavirus infection.

The simple answer is no. There is no direct protection that any existing vaccine can provide, but it wouldn’t be impossible to become infected with coronavirus and influenza or pneumococcus.

Being vaccinated against illnesses that are potentially preventable does put you in a better position to fight off a coronavirus infection.

Ages affected

Questions from Southgate and Brighton asked about the age group being hit the hardest by the outbreak. They wanted to know if it’s true that children haven’t been affected at the same rate as adults.

Here’s the age breakdown of more than 44,000 confirmed cases from a summary paper published Feb. 24 in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

  • 3% older than 80 years old
  • 87% between 30 and 79
  • 8% between 20 and 29
  • 1% between 10 and 19
  • 1% younger than 10 years old

Based on the current published date, it’s clear there are far fewer confirmed cases in young people. The same paper also noted that people over 70 had a higher fatality rate.

How long does COVID-19 last?

A viewer from Macomb Township wanted to know if the claim that COVID-19 sickens people for 10 to 15 days is true.

The answer is yes -- that’s a close timeline.

Information on the first COVID-19 patient in the United States was published Jan. 31 in the New England Journal of Medicine. That 35-year-old man was sick for about 18 days.

Other reports have suggested 2 1/2 weeks is the average length of illness.

It’s likely some people might recover sooner while others with severe cases take much longer.

Remember that about a month ago, there were questions about whether the coronavirus could spread from person to person. That’s how quickly information can evolve.

Track the global spread of COVID-19 with a live dashboard from Johns Hopkin here.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.