Posted on March 30, 2020
By: Dr. Asaf Yalif
Hello to everyone affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic, which, is everyone. I wanted to write a brief blog today just to update you on where we are and where we appear to be going. I know you are all watching the news everyday and seeing a grim picture painted. It is true these are tough times. Social distancing is the norm and we are asking you to be as vigilant as you can with personal hygiene for the foreseeable future.
The strategy that the world has been employing is social distancing. By staying apart, no longer shaking hands, trying to not touch our faces, etc. we are aiming to flatten the curve. What this means is that there will be less people affected by the virus. If less people are affected then less people will die. This strategy is aimed at mitigation, or lessening the severity of the outbreak. This is because the infection is already present and because there is a significant period between being potentially infectious and having symptoms. As testing improves and we have the ability to identify infected people earlier, we should be able to create strategies that may allow some return to normal activity.
At the same time as we mitigate and stay vigilant the pharmaceutical companies are aggressively pursuing treatment options, including known drugs, like the antimalarial drug chloroquine, and new anti-viral therapies. They are also currently exploring, and using, cured patient antibodies to treat the very sick. The science is dynamic and fluid and the best minds in the world are working on all manner of therapies. New studies are being started to assess the efficacy of these different modalities and hopefully we will have a scientifically proven approach to improve outcomes soon.
They are also working on creating a vaccine. Actually several groups are working on a vaccine. In conjunction with other strategies a vaccine can, and will help us to develop “herd immunity.” This concept is one where we are no longer mitigating the spread; instead we are working on making sure the population, as a whole, is immune to the virus without having had the actual infection. While it takes time to develop and test a vaccine to make sure it is safe for the population as a whole that is ultimate goal.
Our governments are working to help private companies make more personal protective equipment and ventilators. They are asking us to maintain the social distancing and hygiene guidelines at least through April to help lessen the potential loss of life. They are also helping with financial stimuli as we all come to a halt economically and adjust to the new “normal.”.
Both the pandemic and social distancing have created some peculiar problems of their own. Most notably feeling very alone. While everyone can appreciate some private time, this extreme distancing has created a sense of depression in some. This coupled with anxiety about the state of the pandemic can make things seem overwhelming. While a blog isn’t going to change that, please know that you are not alone. We are all working together by staying apart. We are protecting our family, our friends, and our neighbors by remaining separate. And while that doesn’t relieve loneliness at least it brings a crystal clear focus as to why we need to be alone right now. Further – social isolation doesn’t mean you can’t facetime/skype/what’s app, etc. The world is more interconnected now than at any time in history. If you are feeling alone, check it out, or pick up the phone, or yell out the window and just say “hi” and see where it goes from there. Remember, you are not alone.
For our older friends and family, if you need anything please let us know and we will get it for you. Many of us want to help and are reaching out to see if there is anything we can do. Even if that is also through a phone call or smoke signals – just let us know and we will help.
I know we hear it a lot but we are all together on this one and we have to believe that the scientists and doctors are all working as hard as they can to find effective treatments and create a viable vaccine. Until then please support each other by staying separate. Look out for our older friends and family, call to check on them and see if they need anything and please, if feeling anxious or depressed reach out to someone and say hi. We are always here if you need us, and are happy to video chat whenever you need to.
Please be safe! We will get through this alone and together!
Current CDC guidelines are here.
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