COVID-19, Frank Discussion and Perspective
.. Let’s clear up some misinformation. We first heard about this new strain of coronavirus in the US around January. There was a definite concern but a ton of uncertainty about the potential of this virus, so we discussed it but weren’t sure what to expect of it. There was hope that it could be contained with measures being put in place like quarantines in China and education regarding how to prevent spread. But that didn’t work or it was too little too late. In the time since then, the situation has exponentially evolved and we are sitting on a global pandemic with effects on the lives of every single human on the planet. Today we have >3,000 cases in the US and this is expected to grow.
We now know it has the potential to be deadlier than the Flu (also very deadly), we also know that it is much more contagious. We STILL do not know everything about it though, because it is brand new in humans and we are learning as we go. There is hope for treatment and for the development of a vaccine with the quick actions being taken around the world. Things are constantly changing as we get more information, at times literally hour to hour. What is relevant at this moment may become irrelevant tomorrow.
- Coronaviruses are a group of a bunch of viruses, some that only infect animals and only around six that until January could infect humans. One of the strains of human coronavirus causes the common cold. This new strain previously only infected animals and has mutated so that it can now infect humans. Humans have no immunity to the virus and it has shown itself to be highly contagious.
- The human coronavirus that is mentioned on the back of Lysol cans or wipes refers to the one that causes the common cold.. there’s no big conspiracy going on there.
- International and air travel have been the catalyst for the spread. It appears that people were contagious before symptoms developed.
- It appears that droplets containing the virus may possibly stay in the air for hours, it also appears that the virus can survive on surfaces for longer than previously thought
From there the incidence of infection has doubled almost every day and there are currently 167,511 cases worldwide
COVID-19: Why this is a big deal
Why are we taking all of these measures? WE need to contain this NOW.
This is not the Flu. That comparison should have stopped as soon as we saw the gravity of spread and the impact.
Mortality rates are high even if we haven’t identified all of the folks who have it in the community due to erroneous tests and lack of testing. (note- how were they testing cats and dogs in China yet here in the US we have such a tough time testing folks deemed high risk??)
Those over the age of 80 are at the highest risk of death.
Though there are higher risks for those who are elderly, immunocompromised, and who have comorbid conditions, that does not meet younger folks are not without risk.
We are starting to see young people getting very sick. Multiple people in their 20s and 40s are on life support across the country.
What is unfolding in Europe can very easily happen in the US, especially if we are complacent.
They have run out of ICU beds and life support machines in some areas- meaning they are literally having to choose between who gets treated and who is not treated when someone needs help, whether COVID-19 related or not.
We already have a shortage of protective equipment- facemasks for those at the front lines in hospitals. And in Hawaii, we also have a shortage of healthcare workers. If our healthcare workers start to get exposed – sick or require quarantine, the results will be disastrous and there won’t be enough folks to care for those who get ill, whether from COVID-19 or any other illness/injury for that matter.
This is serious. We ALL need to play our part.
COVID-19: What you can do?
Flatten the Curve. What does that even mean?
It means slowing the spread. Our hospitals do not have the capacity to care for everyone if everyone gets sick at the same time. Add that to the potential shortage of healthcare workers who are likely to get sick or require quarantine due to exposure as well. AND the fact that we are facing a looming shortage of personal protective equipment like facemasks in hospitals in the US. We need to slow down the rate of infection so it is more manageable. If we can do this, everyone who gets sick enough to need medical attention, or even life support, can get it.
Take action now.. the one thing that has worked elsewhere is social distancing and isolation.
Does it feel like we’re overdoing it? Nope, not when this many lives are at stake.
Many of us are likely to get COVID-19. Although it can be a mild around 80% of the time, the 20% who get super sick will need medical attention. So we need to act now and know what to do to spread out the cases.
This is why schools are being closed, travel is being restricted, events are being canceled.
PLEASE be socially responsible and practice social distancing. How, you ask?
- If you need to be around others, distance yourself by at least 6 feet
- Don’t shake hands, try shakas or waves instead
- Don’t go to brunch, don’t hang out at bars, cancel St. Paddy’s day plans
- Cancel gatherings- church services, birthday parties, large events
- Don’t contribute to large crowds, hello Costco shoppers and airports
- Work from home- Avoid non-essential travel
- If you are sick stay home and isolate yourself from others in your home
- Disinfect any surfaces that are frequently touched.
- DO NOT go into ERs, hospitals, urgent cares unless you have an urgent need- Use Telehealth, in Hawaii @WePrescribe
- Know the symptoms and when to seek medical attention
We MUST do this together or this protection doesn’t work. Think of others during this time. Yes it’s a huge disruption, it’s super inconvenient, yes it’s a blow to the economy and painful suffering for many businesses, but if we can take precautions in the short term, we will be better off in the long term and thousands will have survived because of it.
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