ST. LOUIS ( -- The word from an infectious disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is "we can not let down our guard" when it comes to the measures we've taken so far to keep the COVID-19 numbers down.     

“As long as we continue what St. Louis has done historically and [continue] doing well right now we may be able to escape the worst of this,” Dr. Steve Lawrence said.

A News 4 viewer wanted to know if you could get COVID-19 from the family pet.

“It's been demonstrated some animals can actually be infected with the virus but there's really been no evidence that people have been infected from animals and then it is stopped at this point considered to be a significant risk,” Lawrence said.

When it comes to wearing masks in public, many people have taken the advice and covered their mouth and nose with N-95 or homemade masks. But others are choosing not to cover up.

“Some people may have coronavirus infection and not know it because of having few and many symptoms. And so, the best strategy of all for people to avoid being infected is to avoid being within six feet of other people,” Lawrence said. “I think ... departments have a very good phrase that describes this and it says 'my mask protects you, your mask protects me.'”

For those who may be showing symptoms and do not have a primary care physician or family doctor, Lawrence says reach out to the hotlines from area health departments.

In the meantime, Lawrence says to stay home and do not go out in public. And even if the number of cases slows down the advice is don't let down your guard. 

Lawrence says some of the measures taken to fight the pandemic might then be able to be relaxed but that can't be all at once or too quickly or we risk it bouncing right back.

“I think what's very important for your viewers, for all of us, is that we are seeing real evidence that these measures are working, and to really reinforce that that is a call to remain vigilant stay strong and keep holding on, we'll get through this and it just, you know, we needed to maintain this very intense effort for just a little while longer,” Lawrence said.

He says he does anticipate we'll see coronavirus infections beyond this current wave. To what extent, when they'll come back and how frequently, depends partly on how successful and how quickly a vaccine will be available.

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