This Morning’s Philip Schofield asks if coronavirus is spread through sex – The Sun

THE outbreak of coronavirus has left many people questioning how the deadly bug is spread.

And as it's a new illness, it's not clear exactly how it's being transmitted from one person to another.

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Based on the little evidence so far, scientists believe Covid-19 is passed from droplets carried by coughs and sneezes.

But it's left many people with questions about its exact transmission – including whether it can be spread through sex?

It was something Phillip Schofield brought up yesterday during a question and answer session with two experts on This Morning.

The TV host, 57, put it very directly to NHS GP Dr Sara Kayat, saying: "Can you get it from sex? That's another question being asked."

It's not a sexually transmitted infection… but it can be caught through close direct contact

She responded: "Sex itself, i.e. through sexually transmitted infection, no, it's not a sexually transmitted infection.

"But it can be caught through close direct contact."

Phillip added: "You're pretty close to the person there at the time, aren't you?

"And if they've got it then…"

Dr Sara then jumps in and says: "Unless you're going to have sex through a plastic sheet, which isn't very sexy at all, then it's unlikely."

Answering queries

She was also joined by Dr Al Edwards, an immunologist and associate professor at the University of Reading, to answer other coronavirus queries.

Asked about handshakes, he said: "The infection is a respiratory infection and it's spread through your mouth, eyes and nose.

"So you won't get infected by touching something with the virus.

"But what you've got to think about is your hands – and maybe a lot of us are starting to think about that.

"How often during the day do you actually touch your face?

The infection is a respiratory infection and it's spread through your mouth, eyes and nose

"So the important thing is, follow that hand hygiene advice – it's not just eating or rubbing your eyes – but also applying make-up.

"It's a really good idea to wash your hands before doing that.

"So you won't catch it from shaking hands itself but think about that hand hygiene."

The duo were then asked how the new coronavirus compares to the seasonal flu, which comes around every year.

Dr Sara said: "We know that the flu has a mortality of one per cent. It's an infection that we know so much about.

"But the coronavirus is new, we don't know that much about it.

"The World Health Organisation says the mortality rate is around 3.4 per cent but in the UK modelling has suggested it's more like one per cent.

"It's somewhat equivocal to that of the flu but with the flu, we have vaccines – whereas we don't have vaccines for the coronavirus."

Similar to flu

Dr Al added: "They are similar because they're both respiratory infections, so some of the symptoms will be similar with the coronavirus – particularly a cough and a fever.

"Another way of looking at it is that they're both very serious viruses – they're both killer viruses.

"Over the millennia that we've been living with influenza, it's swept through the population and killed a lot of people.

"We're hoping we won't see as bad an outbreak with the coronavirus, but they're definitely equivalent."

Pet transmission

Phillip then asked whether it was possible to get coronavirus from a cat or a dog.

Dr Sara said: "There's no evidence to suggest that pets are a source of transmission.

"We of course keep saying washing hands and sanitisation but at present, there's no indication."

Dr Al added: "I would agree that although we can't say for certain that it doesn't infect cats or dogs.

"What we do know is that all of the cases that have been followed in China there's always been a human to human contact that can be identified, so as far as we can tell it's spread from one person to another."

Package spread

Holly Willoughby then put it to the experts that the bug might be able to live on packages delivered from abroad.

But the experts quickly shot the idea down.

Dr Al said: "The really good news is that this virus is very fragile outside the human body and actually one of the things that kills it quite well is for it to dry out on something like paper, and that's why the advice is 'catch it, kill it, bin it' because a paper tissue will be quite effective at killing that virus.

"It will be the same for packages, again, people get the infection from other people – not from the Tube or packages."

Another question that had been raised was whether it was possible to get it twice.

But Dr Al reassured viewers that it appeared to be unlikely.

He said: "This is the type of virus that we would expect that once you've been infected and cleared the virus you'll have a very powerful immune response – an antibody response that will clear the virus.

"That will protect you most likely from infection again.

"Having said that, it's that big uncertainty that with a new virus we can't say for sure that nobody will ever get it twice, but we would expect it to be similar to other infections where once you get it once you are protected."

Bizarre solutions

One of the more bizarre questions put to the duo was whether people should rinse their noses with saline and eat garlic.

Dr Sara said: "There's no evidence for either of those two things.

"Garlic is thought to be very healthy, it might be anti-microbioligocal in its nature but it won't stop you getting coronavirus, nor will douching your nose."

The final point was about self-isolation – something the government has urged people to do if they have been in contact with a positive coronavirus case or have recently returned from a high-risk country.

Holly wanted to know whether you would need to put your whole family into quarantine if you are asked to self-isolate.

Dr Al said: "That's the advice but it'll depend on the family set up, it'll depend on whether you live in a flatshare – it won't always be that straightforward.

"It also goes back to that question of intimacy.

"Ideally you stay in a separate bedroom, you use a separate bed, separate towels – ideally a separate bathroom.

"Just try and be really careful not to spread it onto your loved ones.

"It won't always be possible, but that's the idea and try and keep yourself to yourself."

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