Do healthy people get serious cases of coronavirus? Is a vaccine the only way to get back to normal?

Dr. Frank McGeorge answers viewer question about coronavirus

DETROIT – There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus (COVID-19), 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 wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

How many healthy people get serious cases?

Experts have spent a lot of time emphasizing the importance of going out of your way to protect people at risk for severe disease, including anyone over 65 years old and individuals with chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and lung disease, because their odds of having severe cases is higher.

Viewers want to know what percentage of people without underlying health issues end up with serious cases of COVID-19.

A recent study of United States data collected between mid-February and the end of March found that about 22% of healthy people end up in the intensive care unit.

On the other hand, 73% of people who are basically healthy don’t even get admitted to the hospital.

Should you stop going to medical facilities?

Another question on viewers’ minds is whether to continue going to medical facilities for necessary treatments such as dialysis even though they are at high risk because of age and other conditions.

The answer is yes. These treatments are more critical to keeping healthy compared to the risk of being exposed. When you go for care, take extra precautions to protect yourself, though.

Could we see a second spike?

Forward-thinking viewers have asked: Once we get “back to normal,” what is the likelihood we could see another outbreak after the stay-at-home order has been lifted?

It’s very possible. That would be the second wave you’ve heard the coronavirus task force talk about, and it’s the reason everyone will need to more permanently alter their personal hygiene habits.

The fact is until we have a vaccine or have built up enough herd immunity from natural exposures, we will remain vulnerable to the virus.

Depending on how long our natural immunity lasts after infection, which we simply don’t know enough about yet, a vaccine might be our best long-term solution to prevent COVID-19 from recurring.

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