I hope everyone is well and we are all able to keep anxiety around what is now considered a pandemic under control. I wanted to reach out and express my opinion on the rapidly evolving Corona Virus situation.
Many of you may be aware of the situation on the ground in South Korea versus Italy. There are some lessons learned here; The Korean death rate is roughly 10% of the Italian experience. What appears to be the difference is the level of testing the Koreans have employed. They have been able to employ widespread testing of symptomatic individuals followed by voluntary quarantine.
We have available testing for symptomatic individuals here at the clinic. I initially advocated for testing of persons with lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) but now I would recommend testing of persons with upper respiratory (congestion, sore throat, nasal drainage) symptoms as well. This will direct how intense personal isolation protocols need to be.
As a nation we are probably too late to protect ourselves on a large scale from a virus that is surely out in the general community. What we can do is practice ‘social isolation’ with appropriate testing and limiting contact outside of our households. Our hope has gone from stopping epidemic Covid to slowing its progression through our communities. This will prevent unnecessary deaths from overwhelming an already compromised pubic health system. Every day that we can slow the number of new cases gets us closer into warmer temperatures (less viral activity) and eases patients into the medical system. This is a time for all of us to defer to the general welfare of our fellow Americans and limit all unnecessary social interaction for the benefit of the weakest among us.
Again I have great faith in the general health of the vast majority of our HPH members. Do stay away from public gatherings and common surfaces. Avoid NOS (Netflix Overuse Syndrome) and I encourage all of you to get outside, exercise, and fully enjoy some ‘downtime’. As always, but especially now, I am available by email, text, and cell service.
Nicholas Beaulieu, MD