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Dr. Tufa answers your questions about how coronavirus spreads

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“Is COVID-19 transmitted by mosquitoes?”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — At last Sunday’s ASG coronavirus task force meeting, Health Department Epidemiologist Dr Aifili John Tufa shared two questions from the community relating to the coronavirus pandemic and Samoa News points out that these are the questions that have been circulating on social media since last month.

The first question is whether COVID-19 is transmitted by mosquitoes. Dr. Tufa acknowledged that it’s true that mosquitoes do transmit specific viruses, such as dengue fever and other organisms such as filariasis.

“But as far as the coronavirus, there’s no evidence suggesting that mosquitoes can transmit the virus from person to person,” he explained. “This particular virus, will likely not survive a mosquito’s system.”

He points out that chances of a mosquito transmitting the coronavirus is zero and the answer to this question is no. “Mosquitoes do not transmit coronavirus,” he emphasized.

Dr. Tufa also said that because there have been positive COVID-19 cases of workers at meat processing plants in the US, the question is then whether “it is still safe for us to consume this meat that’s coming from the US.”

“I believe it’s still safe to consume the meat from these factories. In the process of getting the poultry, the meat ready, the freezer and … other disinfecting process, the virus will not survive it,” he explained.

CNN and other national news outlets reported last month that some of the country's largest processing plants or slaughterhouses have been forced to cease operations temporarily after thousands of employees across the country tested positive for the virus. According to CNN, pork processing plants have been hit especially hard, with three of the largest in the country going offline indefinitely— Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, JBS pork processing in Worthington, Minnesota and Tyson Fresh Foods in Waterloo, Iowa.

This week, Tyson announced plans to restart the Warterlook plant with limited production.

At the task force meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga said that public questions are important and suggested that DoH look at launching a public awareness campaign about the importance of ensuring that meat products are properly cooked and for fruits to be thoroughly washed before consumption. And this is especially important for fruits that are provided to children.