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‘It’s not a pandemic:’ WI doctor says focus here is preventing spread of coronavirus

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MILWAUKEE -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Monday, March 9 announced 36 negative tests for coronavirus and two positive test -- the Dane County resident who returned from China and was placed under quarantine at the end of January -- who recovered, and a new case announced Monday -- a patient in Pierce County. The 36 negative tests announced Monday was an increase of five more negative cases from Friday, March 6. With experts indicating a continued increase in those numbers, a doctor said the focus is preventing the spread of the virus.

Minhaj Husain, infectious disease specialist, at Aurora Health Care, stressed the importance of washing your hands several times throughout the day to reduce your risk of getting sick.

"It's not a pandemic," said Husain. "It's not going to wipe out the planet."

Minhaj Husain

Minhaj Husain

Dr. Husain said Monday it's only a matter of time before more cases surface in Wisconsin.

"That's the concern right now as to how much of it is in the community, how much of it is spreading around from patients that we know nothing about," said Husain.

He noted the hope is warmer weather could slow the spread, but he said he wants people to be prepared -- without panicking.

"We don't have immunity right now in the population in general, so it's going to affect a lot of people until, eventually, a lot of the population will start developing immunity," said Dr. Husain. "Hopefully in the next year or two, we might get a vaccine."

Coronavirus testing

Dr. Husain said Monday we could see an increase in the numbers in Wisconsin for another six months. The majority of coronavirus cases involve upper respiratory tract infections that most people recover from. The main symptoms are fever, cough, or sore throat. Husain said the likelihood of transmitting coronavirus off surfaces is low, and the best thing you can do is wash your hands.


He said the only people who should wear masks are those who are sick. A mask won't be effective in preventing respiratory illnesses.

"If you are not sick, we are not recommending the public, in general, walking around with masks everywhere," said Dr. Husain. "That'll just create mass hysteria, mass panic, and in all honesty, it probably won't even decrease the spread of the virus."


Doctors said it's a good idea to avoid shaking hands. Some people have instead bumped elbows to avoid the spread.

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