Can I reuse disinfectant wipes? Your COVID-19 questions answered

We’re answering your questions about the pandemic. Send yours to and we’ll answer as many as we can. We’ll publish a selection of answers every weekday online, and also put some questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network. So far we’ve received more than 37,000 emails from all corners of the country. 

Are people with certain blood types more susceptible to COVID-19?

Karla R. asks whether some blood types are more susceptible to COVID-19. A very early study in China suggested there may be some correlation, which has certainly prompted questions. But ultimately, there is little evidence to link blood type with COVID-19 susceptibility.

According to Dr. Joel Ray, at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who is leading a study on the association between blood type and coronavirus, it’s still far too early to tell, though he says blood type is “precariously connected with protection against COVID-related illness.”

“At most I would tenuously describe blood type O negative as being protective [but] it’s so unestablished and so anecdotal that I would say it’s in the area where you wouldn’t bet much on it,” he said.

Ray and his team are running a two-phase study to determine if there is a quantifiable association between blood type and COVID-19 susceptibility or protection. 

Should you use a new disinfectant wipe for every surface?

We’ve all heard that disinfecting frequently touched surfaces is important for protecting ourselves from COVID-19. So do you need a fresh disinfectant wipe for each new surface? That’s what many Canadians, including Safina, are wondering.

Dr. Zain Chagla, infectious disease physician and associate professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, says it is fine to use the same wipe on multiple surfaces, as long as you’re doing all the surfaces at once.

“[These] wipes are really impregnated with a lot of disinfectant,” said Chagla. “And the virus doesn’t exist very well on disinfectant and disinfected material.”

The number of poisonings linked to cleaning products has jumped compared to last year, Health Canada says. Here are some tips to avoid making dangerous mistakes while cleaning.   2:12

Another infectious disease expert, Dr. Lynora Saxinger, says “contact time” is key when using sanitizing agents. The wipes have to be wet enough to leave disinfectant on the surface. 

“I don’t personally switch wipes,” said Saxinger, “and when using a spray, I don’t dry the surface, I just wipe the product across the surface and let it dry.” 

Check out Health Canada’s list of disinfectants that are likely to be effective against the coronavirus here.

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 can you stop physical distancing? 

Canada has had nearly 70,000 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, with provinces and territories listing over 30,000 of those cases as resolved or recovered. 

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, can you relax physical distancing? That’s what Ted W. is wondering. Well, not quite.

“Not at the moment,” warned Dr. Allison McGeer, infectious diseases specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

Even if you’d had the disease, she says you should continue to be vigilant and follow all the necessary measures and precautions. That means staying at least two meters away from others, and to consider wearing a mask when going outside

The World Health Organization says that while it’s expected that people who recover from COVID-19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection, the extent of that is not yet known.

“We’re really hoping that people who have recovered will be protected in both the short- and long-term from second infections,” said McGeer. 

“But, we don’t know that yet.” 

We’re also answering your questions every night on The National. Last night, you asked our medical experts: what has two months of physical distancing accomplished? Watch below:

Experts answer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic two months after it was declared. 6:40

Monday we answered questions about employee rights and calming anxiety.

Keep your questions coming by emailing us at

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