Q&A with UChicago Medicine doctors: Going about your day under COVID-19

Infectious disease specialists discuss going outdoors, routine visits to hospitals and the best mask materials

University of Chicago Medicine doctors Emily Landon and Allison Bartlett answered questions from the public in an online Q&A on how to safely go about your day as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Landon, who made national headlines with her public plea for social distancing in March, is an adult infectious diseases specialist; Bartlett is a pediatric infectious diseases specialist. Both doctors helped design and oversee the University of Chicago Medicine response to COVID-19.

The discussion included whether it’s safe to come to the hospital for routine, non-COVID-19 care. Most doctors and hospitals, including UChicago Medicine, are available by telephone. And an increasing number of health providers, including UChicago Medicine, are offering virtual or video visits.

“But if you need to be here, we’ll make it safe for you to be here. It is safe and you should definitely do that,” Landon said, including for kids’ vaccinations. 

They also agreed that it’s important for kids to play outdoors during the pandemic: “The best and safest place to be with regards to risk of transmission is outside,” Bartlett said. “That said, we do need to be mindful of keeping our social distance. But it's important for kids to get out, and run around, and play in an open space.”

Questions they cover:

  • How can we safely reopen public spaces?
  • What masks are best, how should I wear them, and how well do they protect me?
  • How should I wash my mask?
  • Should I disinfect my food when I bring it come from the grocery store?
  • Should I wash my clothes after I’ve been in public?
  • Can kids play outside? Can they go to summer camp?
  • Are the tests effective? What about antibody tests?
  • Will I suppress my immune system by not getting routine diseases during quarantine?
  • Is it safe to go to the hospital for routine care?

The full transcript is available here.