Former health commissioner says pandemic could last a while

Benita Zahn & WNYT Staff
Updated: March 27, 2020 07:08 PM
Created: March 27, 2020 05:24 PM

As the pandemic continues, questions abound and so do rumors.


"I think the computer modeling is pretty powerful. In terms of our ability to suppress the activity of this virus, it really going to require measures that are very uncomfortable in terms of social distancing, closing down businesses, keeping schools closed," said Dr. David

Pratt, the former health commissioner for Schenectady – and a preventative medicine expert.

He says there's no crystal ball showing definitively when we'll be in the clear - but based on modeling he's reviewed, he thinks it could be at least eight to 10 weeks of the dramatic measures we're currently living with.

We know the key to slowing the spread - keep your distance and your hands washed. However, if you fall ill with coronavirus, will you be immune to it down the road?

Pratt says based on what we see with flu, also a respiratory illness - probably yes.

"We at least think it can be measured in a matter of months," said Pratt.

Perhaps as much as six months, says Pratt.

What about all those masks community members are stitching? While not approved for hospital use, does he think they can prevent the spread of the disease?

"Probably would provide some barrier from the droplets going from my airway, to the environment around me. They're not measured, they're not specified, they're not necessarily quality controlled, so it's a bit of a gamble, but probably better than nothing if you're infected," he said.

Learn more about some of the preventative steps you can take to help lower your chances of getting coronavirus, by watching the video of Benita Zahn's story.

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