O.K. People! Calm DOWN! Yesterday, the President of the United States spoke on national T.V. and the pandemic became real. The same pandemic that we have been talking about for months. Except it was finally called such. And perhaps because a huge travel plan was put in place without anyone’s notice and because it was clear that perhaps there was no other clear plan in place people have become anxious today. CALM DOWN. Unless this virus was created in some lab (which is doubtful) there is no one to blame for its existence. Unless you want to have a long talk with mother nature. Viruses happen. But guess what? Humans happen too. And our gift is intelligence. So, let’s start using it.
The key now is to decrease the spread of this virus. Flattening the curve, if you will. The postponement of major events is vital. The washing of hands. The covering when you cough. The cleaning surfaces. All of them are vital. The rest is theatre. Don’t become part of the drama. The drama is currently a big problem. This is exactly why doctors sometimes do not tell people the whole story. Because panic sets in. It is not time to panic. It is time to be careful.
We need more test kits and they should be free. We should test as many people as possible to get some FACTS. It is the lack of facts that make us all nervous. We will all make sacrifices in one way or another. It will not last forever. Hopefully for weeks or months only. Let’s not CREATE the apocalypse. So, you want to do something useful? Call your representative in D.C. and tell them that if they don’t work toward providing testing, you will never vote for them again.
Stop hoarding. It only goes toward creating an atmosphere of panic. It is reasonable to buy groceries for a couple of weeks. But that is all. Toilet paper? Really? If you don’t have toilet paper, then you can always shower after a BM.. Come on people, where is the common sense?
Next. The really important thing. Buy a thermometer. Be aware of your body. If you have fever or a new cough that does not go away or shortness of breath. Call your local hospital or doctor. Do not go to the health care office immediately. Tell them your symptoms and they will guide you. Remember. It is estimated that 80% of all infections will be mild. Another 15% will have more intense symptoms. Only a small percent will require hospitalization. Do not overuse the healthcare system like it was toilet paper.
There is a saying in medicine: “in an emergency, always take your pulse first”. That means that the last thing you need, when you need to think clearly, is to panic. So, take your pulse first. Don’t panic. We will get through this. And I predict better than expected.
What a day. The World Health Organization declared this a “pandemic”. Before you freak out let me clarify what that means. It means that this infections have crossed geographic boundaries and is affecting an exceptionally large number of people. It does not mean that it is necessarily deadly. The truth is that those of us in the health profession, especially those have been in my field have known that this is what was probably going to be happening. The physician assigned to Congress and the Supreme court supposedly stated that there will be approximately 75-150 million Americans affected. That may true. Or it may not. The difference starts NOW. It should have started two months ago. This is what is called #FlatteningTheCurve. Which means that the greater the number of people that get infected, the more other people will get infected. Some people I have spoken to have thought it is no big deal because 80% of the people get only mild symptoms (see yesterday’s post). Well, it is a big deal, because the more people get infected the more there will be of really sick people. Which will possibly put a huge drain on our health care system. That being said. DO NOT GO TO YOUR DOCTOR JUST TO GET TESTED. (Hopefully in the near future that will be the case) Firstly there are not nearly enough tests. If you feel sick CALL YOUR DOCTOR’S OFFICE FIRST or CALL YOUR HOSPITAL. They will guide you to testing if appropriate and to treatment. But when in doubt call your physician. (Make sure to buy a thermometer! Most places with telemedicine are going want to physically see you take your temperature!). All is NOT bad news. Many will be putting pressure on government to increase testing production. Research on potential treatment is proceeding at a speed that I have never seen before. Research on a vaccine is also proceeding in lightning speed, with the first human tests possibly starting in a few months. But right now, YOU can make the biggest difference. In conclusion, the time to make a difference is NOW. Hygiene is crucial. WASH those hands. Use towels to close and open doors. Avoiding places that are too crowded is also helpful. If you feel sick, stay home and CALL your health care professional. And remember, this is NOT a foreign virus. This is a virus. Period. It does not discriminate. So, chin up. Let’s stay healthy.
As parts of the world take extreme measures to prevent the spread of COVID19, I wonder. Is it better to limit coming into contact with the virus or is it better to be healthy in case we do contract it? It’s probably a bit of both. I am reminded of a medical school professor of mine, who would put us in our place when we tried to impress him with the latest journal article we had read. He would dismissively tell us: “all you’re saying is that the sicker you are the worse you do”. Case closed. And in deed he was and is correct. The vast majority of the people who have died from COVID19 have either been very elderly or had an underlying disease. My point is this, whether there is COVID19 lurking or not, we should all be as healthy as possible. I need to remind myself every time a donut calls my name. But seriously; if you are diabetic, get that sugar under control now. If you have high blood pressure, see your doctor, take your medication and modify your lifestyle. STOP smoking. For God’s sake stop smoking! Take care of your asthma. If you are battling a malignancy; make sure that all your other labs and organs are where they should be. In other words: YOU are the best armor. Forget the toilet paper and get as healthy as you can. It’s never too late. #COVID19 #ITALY #QUARANTINE #CORONA #COVID
Over the next few weeks we will probably see the cases of COVID19 in the USA markedly increase. Not necessarily because more people are getting infected but because testing kits will be more available and finally a truer count will be reported. This seems scary but it is not. It’s a good thing. We will see that the mortality rate is less than reported. For 95% of people it is like the flu. People who are older (like me) and have chronic illnesses need to take extra precautions. So people….take your own pulse and stay calm. Go out and get sun (UV rays kill viruses!). Wash your hands often. Get rest. This is not the apocalypse… that being said, vote Trump out in November!
#COVID19 #CORONA #COVID #PANDEMIC