March 13 COVID-19 Updates

This is an update to my March 9 post

  • Expect the number of cases in the US to increase exponentially: next week there will be ten times more cases and the following week 100 fold more cases.  If we assume there are 3000 cases now, there will be 30,000 next week and 300,000 the following week.
  • This is not the flu: no vaccine or treatment and an expected higher mortality rate.
  • The only thing that works to slow it down and control it is extreme social distancing. Everyone needs to start now!  This is bold but we need to be like St. Louis in 1918 and cancel everything.
  • Labcorp is in our office and we are now offering specimen collection with a drive thru service. Please be patient while we work out the flow!
  • Check out Dr. Vivek Kak’s JTV interview on March 12 with Bart Hawley.

We use LabCorp in our office and they are the first commercial lab to offer testing.  Here’s how to get tested:

  • We are offering a “drive thru service” for patients who their health care providers have determined they qualify for testing. We need an order – written/faxed/verbal.  Call the office to inform us when they might be arriving.  When they arrive at the office they will stay in their vehicles and call us from their cell phone for further instructions.  They will pull through our covered entrance to the second door.  We will come out to them.

What is social distancing?  This is a gray zone with no consensus.  We want to deprive the virus of opportunities to move from one person to another.

  • Common sense is needed and will depend on your age, health, where you live, activity of the virus in our area and how risk averse you are. Be cautious.  Ask yourself:  if this is needed and essential?  If not, cancel.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Avoid gatherings in public places especially large places defined as greater than one hundred people. I think it is prudent to avoid bars and restaurants.
  • Frequent other vital places – grocery stores — when they are least crowded.
  • Spread out! Stay 6-10 feet away from people – for example in lines.
  • Keep washing your hands and routinely clean doorknobs, faucets, handles.
  • Cancel/reschedule large family events.
  • Consider virtual visits for relatives in “locked down” nursing homes.
  • This one is tough for me: consider holding off on haircuts and other nonessential appointments!  I have an elective colonoscopy coming up and I am happy to cancel that one!
  • Religious services will also be affected. Thank goodness for technology!
  • Exercise by walking outside.

What is the difference with social distancing and quarantine?

  • If you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with a possible infection, quarantine means “stay away from other people”. No visitors in your home.  Don’t share space with others in your family.

I don’t think we can assume this will go away when the weather turns warmer.  It is warm in other parts of the world where the virus is circulating.  It is time to hunker down and simplify for a while – at least for those people not in healthcare.

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