RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Eighteen months into the pandemic and there are still a lot of questions out there about everything related to COVID-19. CBS 17 took those questions to health experts to get answers using facts not fear.
How safe are outdoor events?
Q. “Is it safe to go to the N.C. State game Thursday night? Being outdoors but being very close to other people, how safe is it?” asked Anne Axberg of Raleigh.
A. Dr. David Weber, an associate professor of medicine at UNC School of Medicine, said: “Being next to someone screaming and cheering for a long period of time, if they’re infected and neither you nor they have a mask on, it does present some risk of infection.
Dr. Lisa Pickett, chief medical officer at Duke University Hospital, said: “At this time of very high spread of the contagious delta variant, it is safest to wear a mask in crowded events, even if they are outdoors. If you are unvaccinated and/or immunocompromised, you would be safest to avoid crowds altogether at this time, indoors or outdoors.
Is a lockdown coming?
Q. “Are we going back into lockdown? It kind of seems like we should but that doesn’t seem to be happening. The cases are going up and I just don’t really know what’s going on,” asked Meredith Howell, a student at N.C. State.
A: Weber: “It’s just not practical to think about controlling this disease with country-wide lockdown. I don’t think widespread lockdowns are going to solve this problem of widespread community transmission. We need to move to think about other mitigation efforts.”
Pickett: “Our state and local government leaders will continue to create regulations in the best interest of our general population given their data on incidence and rate of spread. In specific areas of concentrated infections or risk, additional measures may be taken.”
Booster shots and third doses
Q. “I live in Cary and my question is, should I consider getting an antibody test before I get a booster shot?” asked Lynn Sparrow.
A. Weber: “There’s really no point in getting an antibody test now. We really couldn’t say, the antibodies you have, how vulnerable that makes you, or how protective that makes you.”
Pickett: “You do not need a test for antibodies. It is unnecessary time and cost and does not assure you have sufficient antibodies and for the exact duration. At the appropriate interval, just sign up for a booster and feel confident that you are protected.”
Q. “If we get a new booster, will it be a concentrated shot or will it be similar to the two we’ve already had?”
A. Weber: “It’s the exact same vaccine that they have received, and what it does is substantially increase your antibody level”