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Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s infectious disease specialist Dr. Manuel Gordillo recently answered residents’ questions regarding COVID-19 and the loosening of social distancing guidelines. (Read the full transcript here.)

Dr. Manuel Gordillo

Gordillo addressed concerns about a “second wave” of infections (“It’s probably going to happen”), wearing a mask whenever you leave the house (“extremely, extremely important”), and the potential of contracting the virus from mail and other deliveries (“The potential risk of transmission is very, very low”).

 Of course, grandparents everywhere are eager to have contact with their grandchildren again, but Gordillo warns that the safety of interacting with children outside of your own household depends very much on the individual child and the situation. Older children who can follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines are at less risk of contracting the virus and thereby transmitting it to their grandparents. But toddlers are less likely to be able to follow these rules, and even though the virus often manifests milder in children, it’s the same virus that can be extremely dangerous to the elderly.

 “The determining factor is whether a child has behavior control and he/she can stay at a certain distance and follow instructions,” says Gordillo. “If he/she cannot do that, I don't think we're ready at this point.”

 The same concerns can be applied to whether or not children can be allowed to play with their friends—it all depends on their ability to be responsible and follow the health guidelines.

 Overall, Gordillo recommends that Sarasotans remain cautious and continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and thorough handwashing. There’s still a lot about COVID-19 that even the experts don’t know, and we’re all still waiting for answers.

You can ask Dr. Gordillo and other SMH experts your questions at askanexpert@smh.com.

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