WATCH: Infectious disease doctor answers your questions about COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If there were questions before, there's a deluge now that COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic.

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Dr. Irfan Hafiz, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine in Woodstock and McHenry, joined ABC7 on Wednesday to answer questions viewers shared with us on social media.

FULL INTERVIEW: Dr. Irfan Hafiz answers your COVID-19 questions
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Doctor Irfan Hafiz, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine in Woodstock and McHenry, answers your questions about COVID-19.



Dr. Hafiz has tracked communicable diseases for 22 years. He says hand-washing, social distancing and listening to CDC recommendations daily will flatten the curve of the epidemic so health systems can cope and scientists get time to research vaccines and treatments.

"You don't have to overdo it or make other assumptions, but sticking to the guidelines and recommendations will go a long way to avoid a panic situation," Dr. Hafiz said.

That gives rise to a questions from ABC7 Facebook followers such as: What do you do if you think you have it?! How can you get tested without getting everyone else sick?

WATCH: What does 'flattening the curve' mean?
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"Flattening the curve" refers to efforts in slowing down the spread of a virus even if it can't be stopped.



Dr. Hafiz says you should call your physician or public health facility.

"Not everyone who is tested or has symptoms needs to be admitted to the hospital," Dr. Hafiz explained. "It is only the ones who are have other medical conditions that really will tax their system that may need to be admitted."

Another Facebook fan asked: "My husband and I are 75 and 72 and in good health. We are booked to fly to Florida on the 21st. Is it considered safe for us to fly or consider us elderly and cancel?"

"They need to be aware of any travel plans, large gatherings that they're really planning on going to. Is it is it really necessary? How essential is it?" Dr. Hafiz advised.

WATCH: What makes COVID-19 a pandemic
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Dr. Sharon Welbel, an infectious disease specialist at Cook County Health, talks about what makes COVID-19 a pandemic.



And another viewer asked: "Is there really a cure? I have tons of friends taking this pandemic lightly and being extremely nonchalant. It's upsetting that people don't care."

"We know that this will pass, it is just going to take a little time," Dr. Hafiz said. "And being able to be prepared so that you're not having to get out into those situations helps certainly from getting more people exposed."
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