Reader FAQ: Answers and advice for coping with COVID-19
The Star Tribune takes on your questions about the pandemic in Minnesota.
And what precautions should you take?
What are the different types of coronavirus tests? There are three broad categories of coronavirus tests in the U.S. Two diagnose whether you have an…
Employers have the right to take employees' temperature and ask about symptoms or if they have been exposed to or diagnosed with the virus.
What should I look for in a hand sanitizer? Pick one that contains mostly alcohol, and has few other ingredients. The U.S. Centers for Disease…
Can I get the coronavirus twice? It seems possible, though how often it happens isn’t known. Researchers in Hong Kong recently reported evidence of a…
As the novel coronavirus spreads across the world, we've answered reader question about what they most want to know about the outbreak.
Are you a health care worker or other person on the front lines of COVID-19 response? Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus? Help us report on how the pandemic is affecting Minnesotans.
Can I use a face shield instead of a mask? No. Health officials don’t recommend the clear plastic barriers as a substitute for masks because…
Many colleges are welcoming students back for in-person learning and dormitory living this fall semester. Looming over everything: Campuses could shut back down anytime. With…
Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me? It likely provides protection for both. Studies on the new coronavirus and other…
Parents need to assess risk on a case-by-case basis.
While mosquitoes can spread some diseases, most notably malaria, experts say COVID-19 is not among them.
Has the coronavirus mutated in any significant way? It doesn’t seem to have changed in a way that makes people less or more sick. There’s…
There's no evidence you can get COVID-19 from the water itself, but the virus may linger on surfaces
Is it safe to ride public transit during the coronavirus pandemic? It depends on a variety of factors, but there are ways to minimize risk.…
Is it safe for schools to reopen during the pandemic? It depends on how widespread COVID-19 infections are in the community and the safety measures…
Can you get the coronavirus from secondhand smoke? Secondhand smoke isn’t believed to directly spread the virus, experts say, but infected smokers may blow droplets…
Q: You’ve been invited to a party. You aren’t sure about the number of attendees, if the event will be outdoors, whether social distancing will…
U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it's a vexing decision.
Settling the question of whether reinfection is possible is an important one.
The Federal Reserve has seen a significant decline of coins in circulation because people are not spending them as regularly at businesses, many of which are either temporarily closed or not accepting cash.
In response to booming demand, some manufacturers are using different ingredients.
Is it safe to go to the gym during the coronavirus pandemic? It depends on where you live and the precautions you and the gym…
Can a pregnant woman spread the coronavirus to her fetus? It’s possible, but it seems to be relatively rare and scientists think they know why…
People from separate households socialize exclusively to take the edge off pandemic loneliness.
More Minnesotans are venturing out, but still avoiding public restrooms. Is the worry warranted?
The goal of contact tracing is to alert people who may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, and prevent them from spreading it to others.
How risky is dining out during the COVID-19 pandemic? There is some risk, but health officials say there are precautions you can take to minimize…
Is it safe to visit the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic? Dentists can’t eliminate all risk, but they are taking steps to minimize the chances…
In areas where COVID-19 is spreading, health experts agree that wearing masks or other face coverings in public helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus when people can't socially distance by staying 6 feet apart.
How risky is flying during the coronavirus pandemic? Flying can increase your risk of exposure to infection, but airlines are taking some precautions and you…
Many hotels are sharing the changes they're making on their websites.
Residents must enroll by Sept. 30 for online classes paid for by the state.
A genetic analysis of COVID-19 patients suggests that blood type might influence whether someone develops severe disease. Scientists who compared the genes of thousands of…
Experts are researching link in protecting against COVID-19, but also urge caution.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from person to person in water in pools, hot tubs, oceans or lakes.
Experts and athletes have differing views on the need to cover up while exercising.
Worldwide, testing recently started or is about to start for about a dozen potential vaccines.
What is herd immunity and could it work with COVID-19? Herd immunity is when a virus can no longer spread easily because enough people are…
Will temperature checks of employees make workplaces safe? No, not completely. They can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections but shouldn’t be the only…
As the virus spreads around the world, additional symptoms are being identified.
You may have made or bought a face mask to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's how to take care of it.
If it seems like big blue bins are overflowing more than usual, it's not your imagination.
Social distancing has made it increasingly difficult to give the dead a proper send-off.
Crashes have dropped sharply under stay-at-home orders, saving insurers billions.
Can the coronavirus survive on paper currency? Yes, but experts say the risk of getting the virus from cash is low compared with person-to-person spread,…
Anxiety is running high, along with the pollen count. A local allergist weighs in.
A scientific test shows the virus can live on plastic or stainless steel for two to three days.
The food supply
Minnesota pork plants sidelined by coronavirus outbreaks have begun euthanizing and disposing of thousands of pigs. A reader wanted to know whether they could just freeze the carcasses instead of wasting all that meat.
Every once in a while, social media lights up with photos or video from flights that are nearly full, with passengers clearly violating advice from…
The hope is that antibody testing will provide new options for people and public health policymakers. If we can identify those who have COVID-19 immunity, perhaps more people can safely be deployed on the front lines.
The US government has distributed about 130 million economic impact payments to taxpayers in less than 30 days. The IRS anticipates sending more than 150…
Many Minnesotans may soon be asked to return to work as the governor eases closure orders on some businesses. But if some refuse to go due to health concerns, they will likely lose unemployment benefits.
COVID-19 is hitting Hennepin County far harder than any other county in Minnesota. And its size alone does not explain why.
Women and men each make up 50% of the state's confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. However, as of mid-April, about 60% of the deaths were in men, the state Health Department said.
The food supply
Pork and other meat-processing plants have emerged as hotspots for the spread of the new coronavirus because employees work side by side in close quarters, making social distancing impossible.
People sickened by COVID-19 are most infectious when they are showing symptoms, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.