Your coronavirus questions answered: A Houston health expert on non-essentaial medical and dental care, food delivery and the impact of the weather


We’ve received questions from Houstonians on concerns with COVID-19 and shared them with Vivian Nriagu, MD, Partner/Owner Memorial Village Emergency Room who is also a longtime physician with experience working in Houston trauma centers and emergency rooms.

She took the time to answer some of your questions:

Can the flu vaccine be helpful for one’s immune system with the coronavirus?

The flu vaccine is designed to prevent infections with the influenza virus which are very different from the coronaviruses.

If I order delivery or pick up food, is it safe with the containers? Could the bags have a virus live on those surfaces?

Disinfect surfaces of containers and bags to reduce risk of contacting Covid-19 virus from carry-out item surfaces.

No one is discussing non-essential dental care offices. Is this a good idea?

Many dentists throughout Texas are voluntarily suspending non-essential and non-urgent dental care . The TDA (Texas Dental Association) has also provided dentists an online training module on Covid-19 in Dental settings.

If a person gets well after having COVID-19, could their blood be used to make a vaccine since they have antibodies now?

Currently there are no vaccines or drugs available to treat to Covid-19. There are many in rapid development and some may be available in a short time. Human convalescent serum is an option for prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and that could be rapidly available when there are sufficient numbers of people who have recovered and can donate immunoglobulin-containing serum.

Do the experts know if once you have COVID-19 can you get it again?

COVID-19 emerged quickly. There have not been enough studies yet to determine how one’s immune system may react specifically to COVID-19.

Is it true that COVID-19 does not like warm/ hot weather? Like the climate we have here?

The temperature has an impact on people’s living environments and could play a significant role in social distancing. Officials at the WHO said on March 5 that there is no reason to believe temperature will play a role in the outbreak.

If you go to a Quest lab for a blood test for other reasons do you run the risk of being at the lab with someone being tested for COVID-19?

Quests in-office phlebotomist do not collect respiratory specimens, including those from patients suspected of having COVID-19. Patients samples can only be collected by a healthcare provider.