Dr John answered common questions about COVID-19

Our News 23/03/2020

Dr John was on the phone with The Rumble this morning, and answered some of the common questions you have about COVID-19. Below is a summary of what he said:

Q: I’ve got a non emergency thing I wanna see the doctor about, it’s not related to COVID-19… should I put it off and wait until this whole things said and done or should I still be sweet to go see the doctor?

A: The Royal NZ College of general practitioners endorsed by the NZ Medical Association has requested that docs try to remove 70% of their face to face consultations. That doesn’t mean they’re not gonna see you, but we may see you in a different way. We may see you via telephone conversation, video, email. We’re trying to reduce your risk because the worst place you want to be at the moment is a doctor’s waiting room. 

Q: Is there a chance COVID-19 could affect a pregnancy?

A: To our knowledge, no. It may be that pregnant women are a little more susceptible just because their immune systems are all over the show during pregnancy. But there’s not a lot of evidence that I’m aware of as yet. Newborn babies and kids don’t seem to be crashing and burning either. This is a disease that has its major effect on the older groups especially males, for some reason. 

Q: What are the symptoms for each age group? Are they different for different age groups?

A: As far as we know, no. It’s a fever, shortness of breath, and a cough. They’re our classic ones. There’s a report coming out of Italy that a loss of sense of taste and smell without a blocked nose might be a part of it but that’s yet to be proven so don’t quote me on that one… What we’re really worried about is if we start seeing this virus transmitting with people who have got no travel history.

Q: What’re your thoughts on people at the moment who are saying “mate it’s all a big exaggeration”? 

A: We are going to get through this. We as a country, we as a nation, we as a people will survive this. As a species we will survive this, but at the moment we need to take this thing bloody seriously. Look at the number of deaths happening on a daily basis in Italy... There is no reason that should not happen in NZ, unless we do something about it now. This bastard is real. We need to treat it with reality, with common sense, with sensibility, with care. Not getting too scared off the top of it, but just do the simple basic things and understand your life is gonna be different for the next six plus months. 

Q: Can animals get COVID-19?

A: No, the domestic animals in this country, birds things like that, they can’t transmit this virus.

Q: I have a cough, not severe, but a tickle in the throat that causes me to cough every few minutes. Should I be going to work as a tradie on site with other trades? 

A: No.

Q: Should I be going to the gym at the moment?

A: It’s a risk. If you wanna take that risk, on you, but I wouldn’t. 

Q: Am I more at risk if I have… my thyroid removed and take HRT?

A: No not at all.

Q: What about a splenectomy?

A: You’re at risk.

Q: Will this virus die out? Or will it remain a social disease that we need to be immunized against?

A: We will hopefully get an immunization in the next 12 - 18 months, that’s our plan.. If you look at what has happened in the past with these viruses, they’ve run a span, and then they’ve gone away… We’ve got our fingers crossed that that’s what’s gonna happen but that’s a long long way away for NZ at the moment.

Just remember, your GP is there for you. They will still be looking after your health. They’ll be dealing with you on a day to day basis, it might just be in a different way.

For COVID-19 updates, head to Newshub.