Because the 2019 novel coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, Virginia Tech epidemiologist Charlotte Baker says everyone needs to be especially careful about minimizing the risk of exposure to yourself and others.

“When you are in very close proximity to other people, it really does spread from droplets that are coming out of your lungs,” said Baker.  “And you can’t control that. We all breathe out different things out of our lungs all the time. Keeping a physical space between you and other people is really important, so we don’t spread it further and faster.”

Before coming to Virginia Tech, Dr. Baker was an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of an elite corps that responds to national and international emergencies.  At Virginia Tech she teaches public health students how to analyze and investigate health problems.

[More: Find additional Virginia Tech expertise related to COVID-19 here.]

“Older people tend to have some of the worst outcomes from it, but it doesn’t mean that younger people don’t have it too,” she said.  “Younger people tend to be the ones that go from place to place and then spread it somewhere else. So we want to make sure people know you can be asymptomatic with it – that means you don’t have symptoms- and then you are touching and doing everything else, but you didn’t know.”


Charlotte Baker is an assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, located at Virginia Tech.  

Expertise included on CBS affiliate WTKR.

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