At some hospitals, officials have been able to use existing facilities. In Tyler, Texas, the UT Health North Campus medical center is an old tuberculosis hospital, with rooms that use negative air pressure to prevent viruses from spreading.
But in other locations, like Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finding the right spot has been a struggle. Dr. Joshua Purow, who is overseeing the Eli Lilly outpatient trial at the hospital, rushed to get his site ready once he saw that infections were rising in the area.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 12, 2020
Can I travel within the United States?
- Many states have travel restrictions, and lots of them are taking active measures to enforce those restrictions, like issuing fines or asking visitors to quarantine for 14 days. Here’s an ever-updating list of statewide restrictions. In general, travel does increase your chance of getting and spreading the virus, as you are bound to encounter more people than if you remained at your house in your own “pod.” “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19,” the C.D.C. says. If you do travel, though, take precautions. If you can, drive. If you have to fly, be careful about picking your airline. But know that airlines are taking real steps to keep planes clean and limit your risk.
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
What is school going to look like in September?
- It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.
But Holy Cross turned down his first choice, a corner of the emergency department, out of fears that the space would be needed for more severe Covid-19 patients. The idea of installing an outdoor tent was deemed too complicated, and refurbishing a room in a nearby office building would take precious weeks.
Weeks passed before Dr. Purow finally secured a place to run the trial. It was in the emergency department, the first place he had requested.
“We finally have it all set up to go,” Dr. Purow said. “But now, our numbers are declining a little bit. We’re not seeing as much as we thought we would.”
So far, he said, he has enrolled just one participant, out of a hoped-for 25. Over all, the Eli Lilly outpatient trial is aiming for including 400 patients. The similar Regeneron study has a goal of enrolling about 1,500 patients.
Not every trial site is seeing such hurdles. Dr. Jason Morris, who is overseeing the Eli Lilly study at his physician practice, Imperial Health, in Lake Charles, La., has already exceeded his goals and has enrolled about 45 patients. Dr. Morris said he or another doctor calls each person who tests positive for the virus at the group’s urgent care clinic and tells them about the study.