3 words: “Please stay home.”
Why personal responsibility and abundance of caution with respect to COVID-19 is a must.
For example, asymptomatic spread emerged as a mounting concern, after it was significantly observed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and again in Italy.1
We’re not 100% clear on the timeframe of incubation, i.e. when you’d test positive after virus exposure. Theoretically, you could take a test right after exposure and test negative, but two days later you could test positive.3
There’s the pesky question around how long does it linger on surfaces or in the air, the answers to which evolve over time.
There’s also an indication that hypertension may play a role in someone being at high risk of severe illness and death with COVID-19, as reportedly 75% of the victims that died in Italy with medical conditions all had one condition in common… Hypertension. Yes, hypertension. Know anyone with that? Please be careful around them and give them ample space. (this topic requires additional investigation)3
And we’re learning the previously “low risk” group of 20 – 49-year-olds is clearly not at “no risk” for severe illness, as a percentage of these are being hospitalized in the U.S.
In short: Too many unknowns to mess around with COVID-19.
2. The severity of illness in 1/5 of cases.
While we’re continually told the vast majority of cases (~80%)1 involve mild to moderate symptoms, what about that 20% that don’t?
Well, we know what that looks like, and it’s ugly. Hospitalization. Severe Pneumonia, Respiratory Failure, and Acute Respiratory Distress. Potential rapid deterioration to death.2 Admittance to the ICU with patients requiring ventilators.
They need machines to breathe for them. For extended periods of time.
And when you have these cases mounting, you constantly need access to new ventilators. But hospitals don’t have stashes of ventilators.
Hence the crisis. With ventilators, these patients have a fighting chance. Without them, they don’t.
You can take a look online at pictures or videos of the patients in Italy lying motionless on their stomachs connected to ventilators, sometimes for weeks. It’s horrific.
You wouldn’t want to cause someone to need a machine to breathe for them, would you?
And you wouldn’t want to contribute to an ICU-overrun that prevents patients from getting the life-saving ventilators and treatment they need?
Nevermind the healthcare workers who constantly put themselves in harm’s way on the front lines. They’re concerned about running out protective equipment like masks, in addition to supplies and ventilators.
The more people are out in contact with each other = the more transmission = the more cases and the more critical cases that increasingly flood our ERs and ICUs.
Please stay home as much as possible, especially away from adults aged 60+ or anyone with medical conditions like hypertension, asthma, COPD, etc, or compromised immune systems – until we have better guidance and protocols to follow. (which surely will emerge given the constantly evolving scenario)
**Please note the intent here is NOT to spark fear or panic but to iterate the importance of protecting the ones we love, and the ones on the front lines of the pandemic, and the vulnerable – especially amidst the changing environment**
For all intents and purposes, if you’re healthy, or if you feel like you have a cold, or if you feel slightly “off”, or if you once had a cold or felt off, etc…
If you’re alive: Assume you have the virus and assume that you will give the virus to everyone whose path you cross.
This is why we must. stay. home.
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: increased transmission in the EU/EEA and the UK – sixth update – 12 March 2020. Stockholm: ECDC; 2020. Retrieved at https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/RRA-sixth-update-Outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-disease-2019-COVID-19.pdf
“COVID-19 in Seattle: Clinical Features and Managing the Outbreak.” JAMA Network Clinical Audio Review, JAMA. 16 Mar. 2020, Retrieved at edhub.ama-assn.org/jn-learning/audio-player/18315876
- “Coronavirus Update with Anthony Fauci, MD.” JAMA Live, JAMA Network. 18, Mar, 2020. Retrieved at https://youtu.be/EXY76TKNy2Y
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