Hope is Just Over the Horizon for the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously been on all of our minds as it has progressively, depending on where you live, affected our day to day lives. Human nature is such that, it’s one thing to see stats recited on the evening news, but quite another to know family and friends who now have the disease. It’s unprecedented in our lifetimes to be asked to retreat into our homes until the boogieman has gone away, but that reality will reach all of us before this is over.
Say what you want about the response to COVID-19 in China, but it has worked. Today, 90% of Starbucks and all Apple stores are open in China. The curve has flattened in China and South Korea to an enviable extent. See this important chart tracking the number of confirmed cases in major countries.
The first confirmed cases in China were around January 1. They were up to thousands of new cases a day. It’s taken them 2 ½ months to reach a level of 13 new cases a day and declining as of today. We are seeing 890 new cases a day and rising.
I cite these stats not because I’m a fan of China or anything else that they do, but because it gives us some insight into how long cases will continue to rise here and what it will take to end this pandemic. It appears to have taken about 2 ½ months for the curve to flatten and begin declining in China. The same seems to have occurred in a much smaller country, South Korea. If we employ similar measures here, it should take about the same time, plus or minus.
It will take the best quarantine that we can muster because quarantine and personal hygiene are currently the ONLY means that we have of fighting this pandemic. So to the extent possible, the best thing that you can do is to go home, avoid public exposure, and if you have to go out, take the best hygiene precautions that you can. Offer appointments to only the most emergent patients who call your office. Limit your time and the time that your patients spend there. Advise the other patients to delay their visits, to administer first aide and self-care where that is reasonably safe for them. For the very elderly, blind or debilitated, consider employing family members to do exams and minor treatment.
If we employ effective quarantine, our numbers of new cases and deaths will begin declining, just as they did in China. Be brave, my friends. Let’s keep in touch via these messages and we’ll all get through this together.