News about the global pandemic is moving at lighting speed, and we want to keep you updated along the way. Email your questions to AskDailySun@thevillagesmedia.com or call 352-753-1119, ext. 5374 to leave your question.

Reader from village of Chula Vista: What’s the most important thing us residents can do to protect ourselves?
Stay at home. If you must go out for medical care, food or shopping needs, practice social distancing in which you avoid groups of people of 10 or more, giving each other space in those environments. And wash your hands with soap and water after having coming into contact with another person or handling objects.

Reader from the Village of Glenbrook: Are the numbers you show in the daily paper reflecting the last 24 hours or are they cumulative?
The numbers printed in the Daily Sun are cumulative and based on the newest available data from the Florida Department of Health, which does two updates within each 24-hour period. It does not remove recovered patients from the count.

Reader from the Village of Amelia: With so many restaurants offering take out and delivery, what is being done to assure customers that the meals being delivered are safe?  
The CDC reminds us there is no evidence of the virus being transmitted by food. And long before COVID-19 emerged, adhering to health regulations in food preparation is a standard in the restaurant industry. Florida Department of Health issued a food safety sanitation tip sheet for food service workers.

Reader from the Village of Mallory Square: Can you reuse or disinfect masks with filters?
The CDC says disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are not approved for routine decontamination, however, the agency realizes reuse may be needed because of limited supplies. The FDA has not yet approved decontamination methods that researchers currently are testing, and they stress microwaves and dryers should not be used.


Reader from the Village of Rio Ranchero: Can makeshift cloth coverings used for face masks be washed and re-used?
The CDC says “yes,” they should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine will suffice. And if you’re using a cloth material mask with a filter inserted, the filter should be removed before washing. Filters are designed to be replaced, not washed.

Reader from the Village of Briar Meadow: Is washing hands with antibacterial soap good or bad? Because you are washing off the good bacteria with the bad.
While the FDA does confirm there is not enough evidence to show that antibacterial soap is better than “regular” soap at preventing illness and “good bacteria” may be lost, it heavily reinforces that simple handwashing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of many type of infections.

Reader from the Village of Calumet Grove: Can you get coronavirus from a credit card or cash?  Should you sanitize your credit cards and your cash?
Person-to-person is the primary mode of spreading the virus. While feasible that the virus can live on objects, handwashing after handling of payment options reduces risk. Wipe your cards if it gives you peace of mind. Using cashless payment options reduces frequently contacted surfaces and human-to-human transfer, but still wash your hands after going out.

Reader from the Village of La Belle: With stay-at-home, are we able to still visit family within Florida if we go just from home to home?
The governor’s executive order is designed for just the home’s occupants inside. Something to consider: Expanding your contact to other households widens your exposure risk to those they’ve also come into contact  with before you.

Reader from the Village of Briar Meadow: Will microwaves kill the virus?
Although food hasn’t been cited as the carrier of the virus, microwaving would take care of it. Experts don’t recommend placing anything other than food in the microwave because of the fire risk. Microwave irradiation caused significant filter break down to some FFR masks, according to CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Reader from the Village Mira Mesa: Does one have to have a primary care doctor to access the UFHealthCOVID.com for testing?
Logging in to make an appointment for a coronavirus test is available to anyone at UFHealthCOVID.com, whenever appointments are available. To establish a primary care physician, you can call health care providers to see if they are accepting new patients. For example, The Villages Health is currently accepting Medicare-eligible patients at their primary and specialty care centers.

Reader from the Village of Hemingway: I’ve read about Smithfield Foods having numerous (production) plants with employees testing positive and the South Dakota plant closing due to a massive amount of (confirmed cases among employees). I have one of their products in the fridge that I purchased a few days ago. Is it safe?
The FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculuture say “yes,” there is no evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted through food.

Reader from the Village of Virginia Trace: Can pets carry the virus?
The CDC does not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the U.S. Still make sure your pets respect others’ space. The first positive case of animal testing was with a tiger at a zoo in New York City.


Reader from the Village of St. Charles: Should we be worried about bringing the Daily Sun into our house to read each morning?  
The World Health Organization, The Journal of Hospital Infection, National Institute of Allegery and Infection Diseases all report newspaper delivery as safe. There has never been a documented incident in which COVID-19 is transmitted by newspaper, print magazine or print package, those sources report. The Daily Sun staff follows CDC guidelines.


Reader from the Village of Sanibel: When statistics are given out on positive cases in our local counties can someone tell us how many of them have been on cruise or out of country or coming from another state?
The Florida Department of Health does provide a breakdown. For instance, more than 1,100 cases in the state involved travel, but that is now displaced by those who’ve come into contact with a confirmed case person, meaning stopping community spread is the most important thing to guard against.

Reader from the Village of Piedmont: I found bottles of Lysol that are years old. Can the cleaner in the bottles expire?
Check the bottom for a printed “FAB” date on Lysol and similar cleaning products. Lysol stored in these bottles runs out of shelf life after approximately two years and effectiveness may decline.

Reader from the village of Liberty Park: Is there a benefit to wearing latex protective gloves?

It’s not part of the CDC’s recommendation for general public. Wearing the same pair of gloves throughout the day can actually help spread bugs, which is why medical professionals dispose of gloves after each patient contact. Your best practice is wash your hands with soap and water after contact with others, including accepting items. Self-infection could occur when a person wears gloves continuously and touches their face.

Reader from the Village of Tamarind Grove: I have had a sore throat and sniffles. Should I be tested?
Good question, but one best posed to your medical provider in a phone call. In the meantime, avoiding others is recommended, especially if you develop a fever, just in case you have something that might be shareable.

Reader from the Village of Largo: There are no supply problems, so why all the hoarding, and why don’t stores limit quantities?
Human behavior, coupled with misinformation or the unknown, started a buying frenzy for many products. Retailers are now starting to limit buying quantities on scarce items. Manufacturers have told government officials they are ramping up production.

Reader from Village La Zamora: Does someone on Social Security get a stimulus check?
Qualifying income for The Coronavirus Aid Act is earned income, Social Security benefits and pensions of at least $2,500 in 2019, so retirees also can qualify. Those earning more than $75,000 (adjusted gross income), but less than $99,000 will receive a reduced amount.
 
Reader from the Village El Santiago: Why are some people stocking up on water? Is there a remote chance the water supply in The Villages will be affected?
COVID-19 is an airborne transmitted illness, passed on through respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected individual. The CDC reports COVID-19 has not been detected in the drinking water. Conventional water treatment systems use filtration and disinfection, which the CDC says should remove or inactivate the virus.


Reader from the Village of Country Club Hills: Can the virus be transmitted via laundry washing different people’s clothing together?
The combination of water that is filtrated and disinfected by your utility provider, coupled with laundry soap, is a good defense against viruses, just like simple handwashing with soap and water is the best weapon for your skin.


Reader from the Village Rio Grande: Can you explain why the dog parks are closed? Is it a matter of sanitization, or perhaps a liability issue?
The District is following CDC guidelines to avoid scenarios in which people could cluster together. That’s the greatest risk for spread of COVID-19 virus, person-to-person, so avoiding group contact opportunities is a responsible step, according to the White House task force. So closing venues like dog parks helps provide that protection for residents.

Reader from the Village Rio Grande: What is the name of the town in China where it was first discovered and what was the date it first became known world wide? The media keeps us up to date on current news and statistics but not the history of this one-of-a-kind crisis.
The epicenter of the outbreak was Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The initial patients had a link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-human spread, according to the World Health Organization. Later cases did not have access to the animal market, suggesting the virus had moved to person-to-person transmission. WHO said the first case was reported to its country office Dec. 31.

Reader from the Village of Hadley: How long did it take after the Wuhan area of China locked down for the rate of new COVID-19 cases to decline?
The World Health Organization’s first awareness of “cluster of pneumonia cases” was Dec. 31. WHO reported the epidemic, eventually named COVID-19 on Feb. 11, had peaked and leveled off between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, with declining cases following that.


Reader from the Village Alhambra: Should we be leery of possible scams taking advantage of this situation?
A: Unfortunately, yes. Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, reports his office has seen an escalation of COVID-19 related fraud and scams, including the threat of increased cyberattacks during this public health emergency. Patronis urges caution when you browse online, and if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Report suspected fraud to FraudFreeFlorida.com.

Reader from the Village of Sunset Pointe: I make homemade cleaners to try and keep things natural. Is there one I can make that will help kill the virus?
The CDC recommends a bleach solution of 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, if appropriate for the surface. Alcohol solutions should be at least 60% alcohol. Check out epa.gov for a list of products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
 
Reader from the Village of Virginia Trace: Once we bring the groceries inside, should we not touch them for awhile to allow any possible virus germs to die?
The CDC reinforces that primary way that the virus is spread is from person-to-person. In an interview, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said while there is evidence that COVID-19 virus can exist on certain surfaces or objects for hours or even a couple of days for cardboard, in simulated laboratory settings only, he said there is no evidence that transmissions have occurred through the mail or delivery packaging. As a precaution, Adams said delivered packages can be left untouched for a few hours or sprayed with disinfect before opening.  

Reader from the Village of Calumet Grove: I heard you can’t visit anyone in the hospital, is that true?
In order to protect the health of patients and health care providers, no visitors are permitted at UF Health The Villages Hospital and UF Health Leesburg Hospital, except under special circumstances such as patients receiving end-of-life care or imminent birth of a child, according to Don Henderson, CEO of UF Health Central Florida.

Reader from the Village Santo Domingo: Are people who don’t have a fever being tested at the UF Health testing site?
There is a UF Health research project component in which samples of people without symptoms but still concerned about exposure went through the testing process.

Reader from the Village of Polo Ridge: We will be returning north shortly after spending the winter here. We are feeling fine. Should we quarantine ourselves once we arrive home?
Glad you’re feeling fine. There is a current push to practice social distancing and minimize public appearances that might jeopardize that distancing, designed to minimize the risk of virus spread — which we’re all encouraged to practice. If someone should develop symptoms then they should quarantine themselves and contact their medical provider.

Reader from the Village of Pennecamp: What would be the proper course of action for a ‘Snowbird’ here in The Villages who does not have a doctor if they suspect they
may be ill?
Step one, stay home. Step two, contact a primary care physician or urgent care facility to inform of them of your situation to see if they would establish an appointment or course of action for you. Always calling ahead is necessary is to ensure they’re prepared and it’s a safe environment for all, even if they offer a walk-in clinic. And of course, any urgent medical needs requires a call to 911.

Reader from the Village of Fernandina: Is it safe to use the golf cart?
Staying at home whenever possible is recommended, but if you must travel, a golf cart is one of your options. Of course, it’s wise not to share your cart with anyone other than your housemate to avoid close contact with others. And all vehicles should be disinfected periodically, including your golf cart.

Reader from Village of Linden: Can a person who has coronavirus get it a second time later?
Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said, “We believe anybody who becomes positive and makes effective antibody, they can’t get re-infected.” 

Reader from Village Santo Domingo: I am almost 88 years old and live alone. I have no symptoms. Should I be tested as a precaution?  If so, where do I get tested?
Experts say only those who have symptoms should be tested, at the recommendation of a medical professional. Instead, you can practice strong hygiene, such as hand-washing, and practice social distancing to better protect yourself. 

Reader from Village Palo Alto: In the midst of this virus, where is our religious community? Being one of the biggest religious communities, they tend to cause large gatherings. Are they canceling services?
Many houses of worship have suspended worship services and other activities within their facilities, however, many offer online viewing of services. Some, like Live Oaks Community Church, have found social distancing with their drive-in worship concept that allows individuals to sit in their vehicles to watch services on a large outdoor screen with audio provided.

Reader from Village of Collier: I’m under 65 years old and a Villages resident. If I’ve traveled via commercial airlines within the USA in the last three to seven days, should I self-quarantine?  If so, for how long?
Air travel or not, the president is urging Americans to stay home whenever possible and avoid social gatherings of 10 or more. If you are ill, showing symptoms such as fever and cough, you should self-quarantine. The CDC recommendation is for those not tested to stay isolated at home until a full three days pass without a fever, other symptoms have improved and at least seven days after your first symptoms appeared. For those tested and confirmed positive, they can discontinue home isolation after the fever is gone, other symptoms improve and have two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart, the CDC states.