COVID-19 Update #7

Dear Patients,

The news continues to be more and more dire.  New York is the epicenter of the US COVID outbreak and is seeing large numbers of new cases. They are trying to ramp up capacity as the speed of this infection has caught them ill prepared to manage the large numbers of patients.

The coronavirus is currently in our area and there are patients at our local hospitals.  Medical leaders are understanding that people with asymptomatic infection (people who are infected by the virus but do not have symptoms) are fueling this epidemic.  Availability of testing has been inconsistent and, therefore, we have large numbers of people who have COVID infection but do not know it. This reinforces the need for everyone to STAY HOME to prevent spread of the virus.  Staying home now will shorten the current shut down as we get into April and May.

“Social Distancing” has become a common expression but it is really a misnomer.  We need to keep a “physical distance” from each other to decrease transmission of the virus, yet, work to draw CLOSER together socially.  Maintaining frequent social contact with others is critical for emotional support during a crisis like this.  Use technology to reach other, check on elderly loved ones and neighbors, be creative in getting people together via Facetime, Zoom, or other platforms.  It is fun, it feels good, and is important for your health and those around you.

Many people have asked us how does a pandemic like this occur?  How did Bill Gates make this prediction at his TED talk in 2015?

https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready?language=en

Most pandemics start with a virus in animals that transmits to humans as a result of exposure through livestock farming or live animal markets.  This “spark risk” occurs and results in a new human virus for which we have no immunity and that has the potential for human to human transmission.  It then follows that increasing human populations, global travel, and increased urbanization result in a “spread risk” that creates the circumstances for large numbers of infection across the world.

As a country, we did not heed the warnings of people like Bill Gates and we find ourselves dramatically under prepared for the current pandemic.  The best and only way to allow our hospital systems to catch up and gear up to save more lives is to STAY HOME and limit spread of this virus. It will simultaneously prevent some people from getting infected and limit asymptomatic carriers from spreading the infection.

As we go into the weekend, please STAY HOME.  It is important for all of us.  Check in with loved ones electronically and keep in touch with us if anything changes in your status.

 

Warm regards,

 

Steve Lasin, M.D.

Gary Schaffel, M.D.

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