By Pedro Díaz

This is an exclusive interview with Dr. Martin Aróstegui who explains many facts about this virus which is causing a worldwide pandemic.

Dr. Arostegui is a retired medical specialist certified in three separate specialties who was Chief of Staff of Cedars Medical Center and Medical Director of Humana Medical Plans in Florida.

Now that most states and other countries are decreasing restrictions can we forget about the virus?

«The answer is NO! Today we are seeing increases in cases in many states and countries that decreased restrictions a few weeks ago. All members of the public should continue to follow the guidelines published by the CDC as well as local guidelines in your area.

The Covid-19 remains a very dangerous illness that can be severe in older adults and patients with preexisting conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic pulmonary disease.

«In the US we are seeing more than 20,000 new cases per day.»

Do you have increased risk of infection by dining in a restaurant?

«If you are going to visit a restaurant, it is best to select one that has outside seating. Indoor places have a higher risk of transmission of the virus. I also strongly endorse CDC recommendations to stay at least six feet from other tables in the restaurant.»

Is it dangerous to be in a business establishment with other persons that are closer than six feet apart?

«The CDC recommends that everyone attempt to stay at least six feet apart from others. All persons visiting an indoor establishment should wear a mask in order to protect others from the virus. It is best to avoid visiting an establishment where people are not staying six feet apart and are not wearing masks.»

What are the types of masks that afford the best protection?

«The best masks are medical masks labeled N-95. These masks are not available because they are needed for the medical professionals treating patients with Covid-19 in the hospital.

«Today there are many very good masks on the market. I recommend that everyone wear a mask in all situations where social distancing may not be possible. If everyone wears a mask, then we are all protecting each other from the virus. This pandemic requires collective action by ALL citizens in order to decrease the transmission to other persons.»

What measures should people take while visiting a public bathroom?

«It is best for only one person to use the bathroom at a time. It is important to touch the least amount of objects while in the facility. Stay only the time needed.

«Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds before leaving the facility.»

What should I do if someone is walking towards me without a mask?

«I go walking every day with my wife in order to remain active. If someone is approaching, I move out of their way by more than six feet in order to protect myself and them. This is common courtesy during the pandemic.»

Do you take a risk if you travel by air, rail or bus?

«The risk of exposure to the virus increases in enclosed places such as airplanes, railroad cars and buses. Since it may be impossible to practice social distancing under these conditions, it is best if everyone is wearing a mask. Also I would avoid all unnecessary travel.»

Can we get infected if a cashier gives us change for our payment or gives us a receipt?

«The risk is small but it is best to use hand sanitizer once you leave any store or other establishment. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my car at all times.»

Where can I learn more about Covid-19?

«I strongly suggest that everyone consult the CDC Guidelines for Covid-19 and also the specific recommendations of your area. The more we know, the better we can protect ourselves and our family.»