I had a conversation with a person yesterday that has prompted me to write this entry. I haven’t weighed in about COVID 19 until this point. It has been a politically charged topic and, frankly, it has been a difficult spring dealing with all the different ramifications of treating this disease. I am thankful that I don’t practice in one of the states where hundreds or thousands of patients have gone to the ICUs. Nevertheless, the presence of this new disease has disrupted life around the world.
Nothing can be done to set the clock back and undo the harm that has already been done in our country, but we have a lot of knowledge that we should pay attention to. This viral infection passes from one person to another as simple as that. If two people remain far enough apart, they don’t exchange air or droplets, and they don’t touch the same objects, they can’t pass the virus from one to the other. If only one person was sick, once they recovered, and were no longer shedding virus, the two could get back together. Simple, right?
Why is there any controversy about directed health measures? If there are 50 people in a group of 100 who are infected with the virus. Separating them from the other 50 would eventually stop all spread of the virus. Fifty people would remain healthy. In 3- 4 weeks, nearly all could mingle again and go back to their lives. It means all 100 would have to agree and practice this. This has happened in some countries already. If one person who is infected violates this practice, it is possible all 100 could become infected. Many would get sick, 20 to 30 would go to the ICU and 6-8 would die. This is our country.
It may not be possible to get back to the 50-50 but we don’t have to give up and let the virus run rampant in the entire country. We can still separate. We can still protect ourselves and those around us. What else can we do?
Masks – Hand Sanitizer – Social Distancing
NOTHING NEW – this can still work
I still don’t understand why people resist the use of masks. Minor discomfort? I don’t know one healthcare worker who stops wearing their mask because of minor discomfort. We find ways to lessen the discomfort and take breaks.
We’ve all read the posts about lack of evidence, personal freedom, and even “I don’t like the way I look in a mask.” In fact, the evidence is that mask-wearing does lessen exposure. Anything that can disrupt airflow will make some difference. Social distancing also just makes sense. Over and over we hear some person who ignored all warnings say, “I thought it was a hoax…” as they lay dying or as their family member does.
Testing has been touted as a way to stop the virus. Testing should help if we had a way to follow up positive tests. Unfortunately, when it takes a week to get results back and people are unwilling or unable to quarantine, testing has little effect. Quarantine, staying at home and letting contact tracers find sources could still slow the spread in some places. Let’s use our heads. If we had stayed the course in May and June, many states would already be recovering. Now it is hard to know if that recovery will come. A vaccine will help, but there are many issues and hurdles for this as well. I won’t delve into that here. Please, wear your masks. Wash your hands/ use sanitizer. Stay away from other people. Give our health departments a chance to work. If you don’t agree, then don’t poison the well. If you talk someone else into flaunting the directed health measures and they get sick how will you feel? These aren’t personal liberty issues. This is a public health crisis. We’re seeing a thousand DEATHS a day. We wouldn’t tolerate a fraction of that in a war. Why are we so casual about this disease?
I’ve heard “Let the virus run its course. There’s nothing we can do anyway.” I believe some of our national leaders believe this. Look at the numbers. One thousand deaths per day. There have been nearly 150,000 deaths from COVID 19 in this country with 4,000,000 infected. We have 380,000,000 people in this country. Simple math indicates that left to its own, even if we can expect “herd” immunity at 60%, we could see over 8,000,000 deaths. This will mean someone you know and probably some family members will succumb. Please don’t let this happen. Each of us can make a difference.by