Reader Q: My daughter is an RN working on the front line. I haven’t been able to see/touch her since the beginning of March. Is it safe to finally visit/hug her?

Answer: That remains a challenging question.

Dr. Garabet Akoghlanian, an infectious disease specialist with Lafayette General Health, says there are multiple factors that need to be considered, including the age of the parent(s), their risk of having severe disease, and the risk of their loved one on the front line. “In my opinion, we also have to think about the social and humanitarian aspect and the psychological consequences of isolation/distancing,” he says. “To say — at any point before we have a well-established treatment/vaccine — that there is no risk is probably wrong, but there are ways to lower the exposure risk (not eliminate) in such a setting.” Assuming both individuals are symptom-free, he offers the following guidance:

  • Meet in an outdoor setting while respecting the 6-foot distancing rule.
  • If both individuals are wearing masks, the risk of transmission of coronavirus is considered low; it’s even lower without touching, and it’s very low when respecting the 6-foot rule.
  • Always watch out for objects and commonly touched places (door knobs, sinks, bathrooms, car doors, steering wheels, etc).

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