Hello to everyone in our collective stay at home moment. As we now enter week 4-ish of the government recommended course of action we are also collectively starting to go a bit bonkers. In that vein I thought it would be worth taking a moment to reflect on what we have learned as we start to see a glimmer of the other side of the curve.
Many of the Asian countries affected have been able to lock down and then successfully reopen; slowly and smartly built on a backbone of science. Aggressive testing with immediate/quick results allowing isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine allow them to keep the disease in check, identify those affected, and hopefully prevent widespread reoccurrence of the virus.
To be clear, this is needed so that the health care system does not get so overwhelmed with cases that people die for lack of care/enough ventilators, etc.
I know that when we first started to have the outbreak here in the states, and even now, the numbers seemed staggering – 40, 000 ventilators here, thousands of beds there, and not nearly enough doctors, nurses, support staff available to help them all. And so, we mitigated. This means that we took a strategy to relatively quickly lower the amount of people that would get sick all at once. This would then not overwhelm our resources and buy us time. Time to build ventilators, time to build hospital rooms. Time to develop treatments, and time to work on a vaccine. It is true, if the sickness less transmissible and was spread over 3-4 years then we would not have had to these harsh mitigation measures. But, in the name of saving lives the world, collectively has been using fairly strong measures. And they do seem to be working for the most part.
As we see in New York, the curve looks pretty flat, and hopefully will descend to a much lower level. The other hot spots throughout the country will hopefully follow suit. What science would caution though is to not ease up on our own personal responsibilities – frequent hand washing, relative social isolation, face covering. It is the least we can do to save lives, no?
And as the numbers of new infections diminish, and our testing capacity increases restrictions will start to get looser. Here in Georgia they are about to re-open many businesses. I would caution you to maintain your vigilance though and please be as safe as possible. We all want to get back to “normal” but we have to be safe and maintain our 6 feet, our no handshaking, our face covering. Otherwise we will just start a new curve and then we will be back to the beginning of the outbreak all over again. And while the projections have been a bit wide, the number of deaths could be much higher without social distancing and the basic hygiene measures that are being recommended.
So as we start to slowly see an end to the more severe restrictions and some form of new normal, please be extra careful, extra vigilant. Until we have effective treatments and most importantly an effective vaccine we cannot assume that it will just go away.
With regards to medical procedures – no is more eager than we are to resume – business as normal, but we all recognize that we have a part to play in keeping everyone safe. While we are still seeing patients in person for emergencies, the majority of our new consultations have converted to video. And with the states being hunkered down elective surgery has been restricted. As things hopefully improve and elective surgery resumes we will be able to perform surgery, as always only in accredited facilities with board certified anesthesia providers. We are hopeful that by May we can resume some procedures and then if things continue to improve to offer a wider array based on the facilities capacity.
As to fillers and Botox – yes we will again be performing injectables, in what we think will be a safe fashion after April 30. We still clean and sterilize each exam room in between every patient but now we are spacing out the timing of patients and only allowing the patient, not family, friends, ids, etc. to join them in their consultations and treatments. We will resume aesthetician services once deemed safe as well.
We are open for business, but only in the safest way we can think of, guided by recommendation of the CDC, the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Please stay safe everyone. We will make it through this together and there will be a tomorrow. It will be different, but it will be here before you know it!
Current CDC guidelines are here.