We are all interconnected and must do our part to prevent COVID 19 spread.

If you didn’t believe before that we are all interconnected, I am confident you believe it now.

One new viral infection has led to a pandemic.  While pandemics are not new, it is new for most of us in the United States.  Few of us were alive in 1918 when the Spanish flu affected the world.  And if you were here at that time, it is highly unlikely that you even remember it.  If you are now age 105, you would have been age 3 or 4 during the Spanish flu.

I’ve heard many people say, “it is like we are living in a sci-fi movie”. If you would have asked me two months ago, that most flights overseas are grounded, that major sporting events canceled, that nonessential businesses would be closed, and physical distancing measures be implemented,  I would have stated that it is impossible.  However, that is the reality.  If you are among the percentage of people who believe the outbreak to be a hoax, try to not deny what is happening.  Denial will trick you into thinking you will not get sick or the virus does not have any direct impact on you.  Denial will allow you to not follow the recommendations of specialists and experts who understand how pandemics work and are advocating to save lives.  Even if you never get exposed to COVID 19 virus, the implications of this virus have already changed societies and will continue to do so.  For some of us in minor ways, for some of us in tragic ways.

Now is not the time to place blame on other countries.  Now is not the time to blame politicians.  It is not the time for political figures to point blame at travelers, nursing home health care administrators, etc. Blaming one another for this crisis is not allowing us to work cooperatively to solve new problems.  If scientists and experts recommend guidelines on how to move forward, they are the experts who we need to be listening to.  We are still learning about how the virus spreads, infects, and how to medically treat it so we can save lives.  Until more effective treatments are discovered, prevention is your best medicine.  Our world has been through pandemics before and we should learn from the past.  Many have used the lesson learned with two cities during the Spanish Flu that took two different approaches to fight the spread.  Our country is doing similar things.  Every state is making local decisions.  While each location has its own unique circumstances, we will look back at what we did right and what we did wrong.  We just have not seen anything on this grand of a scale for quite some time.  It is my opinion that it is not wise to compare it to the H1N1 virus of 2009, SARS, MERS, or Ebola.  Each of those viruses had a unique impact on the world.  The Spanish Flu of 1918 is probably the best pandemic to compare it to, however, even that was influenza and this is a coronavirus.  We should not compare apples and oranges.  Another parable is that of the blind men and elephant.  We need to listen to experts.  Listen to the infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, historians, and professors.   

There are times to be offensive and there times to be defensive.  If you want to be successful and win the game, a team works together and knows when to be offensive and knows when to be defensive.  These are lessons we are taught early in life.  The consequence of not winning this war on this virus can have a vast toll on us.  We are in this together.  At some point, medical professionals and/or scientists will find successful treatment and in the process save millions of lives.  Yes, millions. If we do not listen to the experts, we will continue to see sad and difficult days ahead.  We have no idea how long that will be.  You have to do your part.  Now is the time to play defense.   Even if you live in a remote part of the world and do not get exposed to the virus, you can show your support by leading by example.  Stay home.  Rural areas have cases.  No one is immune to a new virus.

Please follow the recommendations of the CDC.  The only recommendation I do not agree with by the CDC is the one that healthy people do not need masks.  I understand the importance of first responders and health care providers to have masks.  Yet, people have the right to protect themselves.  Plus, even if you do not have a mask to wear – consider wearing a bandana over your mouth and nose.  In my observation and opinion, South Korea has been more effective at reducing the spread of the COVID virus.  I read that 70% of the population has been wearing masks over their nose and mouth when they are out in public.  We should be doing the same.  When we do go out for groceries or to the pharmacy, wear a protective mask or bandana. If it is being recommended for those health care professionals who are treating the infected, the same guidelines apply to you to protect yourself from the virus.  You still should try to stay six feet away from others in addition to the other guidelines.  Keep in mind, not all people who are sick will be staying home.  To complicate matters, some infected people may not have symptoms and are unintentionally spreading the virus.

Hope.  The FDA has allowed the ability to begin using antibodies of infected individuals who recovered as a way to treat the severely ill in New York.  I heard today that the virus is not mutating easily.  This is good news.

Some people, like Jahova Witness believers, may not agree to this form of treatment.   Yet, for those who want it, it is a way to possibly defeat the virus and save lives.  Other measures are being discussed and will be attempted.  Until we have an effective treatment, continue to play defense.

Updated 3/25/2020 at 12:14 pm EST

Paul Connor

About Paul Connor

Nationally Certified Physician Assistant.
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