Q&A: Is the pandemic peaking?

Posted at 7:51 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 07:51:56-04

(WXYZ) — The U.S. now has over 400,000 cases of the coronavirus and the number of deaths is nearing 13,000. As the war against COVID-19 rages on, is it possible that the pandemic may be peaking? WXYZ Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi answers some questions.

Question: We’ve heard this week would be our “Pearl Harbor” moment. Why then are officials saying that the pandemic may be peaking?

Dr. Nandi:

Yes, it’s hard to think we may be peaking since yesterday was a terrible day for coronavirus deaths, with 1,858 deaths reported nationally. Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come according to a forecasting model that’s charting the pandemic. It predicts that we’ll reach our highest daily number of deaths sometime this weekend. But there is some good news. The number of cases in New York has slowed down and there were fewer patients hospitalized along with fewer patients needing ventilators. Also, the forecasting model is now predicting fewer deaths. It initially estimated about 82,000 deaths but the new estimate is just over 60,000. So this shows that our preventative measures are working and that we need to keep doing them.

Question: Michigan Poison Center is getting calls regarding accidental misuse of hand sanitizer, what can you tell us about that?

Yes, this is very alarming to hear. Some folks are consuming hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. While these products do contain alcohol, it is not the kind that you drink. They are poisonous and you can end up hospitalized. Also, there are people who can’t find hand sanitizer and are using dangerous products instead. I’m talking:

• Paint thinner

• Windshield washer fluid

• Lighter fluid

• Chafing fuel and

• Antifreeze

There’s even been reports of people drinking antifreeze which is very dangerous. Please do not consume or use these products on your hands. Or you can end up with serious burns on your skin, eyes, mouth, throat and stomach. The best way to get rid of germs is by washing with soap and water. If you want to make your own hand sanitizer, here’s what I recommend: mix 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol or ethanol with 1/3 cup aloe vera. You can add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell nice.

Question: Last question, a lot of people wear contact lens, is it safer for them to wear glasses right now?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has provided some tips and yes, they do recommend that you wear glasses instead of contact lenses. And that’s because:

One, you will likely not touch or rub your eyes as much and wearing them will help remind you to not do this and

Two, they can help protect your eyes from respiratory droplets that contain the coronavirus.

However, if you have to wear contact lenses, please be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before taking your lenses in or out.