There are a lot of people who are critical of President Trump’s and the CDC’s recommendations of social distancing. Anyone who thinks that this social distancing is not necessary and is creating great havoc in our society obviously does not have a grasp of the situation. This contrary thought is very damaging to the nation and potentially very harmful to others and to those who say this.
The purpose of Social distancing is to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. If there is one thing that we can learn from the Italian and Wuhan experiences of the rapid invasion of the coronavirus throughout their countries it is this: we must prevent the rapid spread of the virus, which will happen (for sure) if we just allow everyday life to occur, people to gather closely, planes to fly to and from where ever, and business with close contacts to occur like always. By limiting all this, it allows the spread of the disease to occur slowly, to slowly utilize and hopefully have enough of the great medical resources available for all of us who need them without overwhelming the system.
None of us have any immunity to this virus and it is very contagious. Most likely almost all of us will get the disease sooner or later. However, if allowed to spread rapidly, we would see thousands of cases of the coronavirus illness rapidly, which will overwhelm our medical system. Anywhere from 10% to 20% of people who contract the virus will require respiratory support and treatment in ICU’s with respirators. There’s not enough of these available if a huge number of people get the viral disease at the same time.
Thus, there would be some people with serious lung complications from the virus (as discussed above) who will be left out and will not have access to these wonderful medical modalities, such as respirators. The consequence of this is that they have more chance of dying. And this is what happened with the Italian situation. Their mortality rates went up to 8%, while most endemic areas with adequate resources and social distancing concepts in place have mortality rates much less, around 2% to 4%.
Bottom-line, President Trump and the CDC are saving the lives of thousands of people in the United States. This is prevention, and we don’t always see the effects of prevention since the ones who would have gotten the severe disease, didn’t, so it’s not too apparent. We have to look at the studies to get the right answers. And the Italian and Wuhan situations are proof that without social distancing the results are much more devastating than with it.
Granted, this social distancing is causing tremendous economic turmoil: people are losing jobs, the stock market is tanking, there may be a terrible global recession. But what if it were your mother or father who didn’t get that respirator or ICU bed? You can see how important this concept it.
You’ll get another job in time, the market will bounce back eventually, the recession will also bounce back eventually. But you won’t get your parents back if they die of the virus, which could be more likely if all of the US didn’t take this very drastic position.
In conclusion, there are many lung changes that occur in people infected with the coronavirus. If extreme, admission to ICU and respirator support are necessary, for severe lung conditions can develop such as ARDS. These can result in death, although the majority of people who contract the virus survive.
There are many actions that you can take to help prevent yourself from getting the coronavirus, and there are protective options that could potentially help you, although not approved by the FDA. The concept of social distancing is perhaps the best action we all can presently do to prevent the overwhelming spread of the virus that would also overwhelm our medical system and result in not having enough facilities for those severely ill, which most likely would subsequently and markedly increase the death rate from the disease.
If you would like to discuss your options more thoroughly and get some of these modalities, call and make an appointment for a consultation. We do offer telemedicine consults to allow for further social distancing to be maintained.
 Lai, CC, et al. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19): The epidemic and the challenges. Internat. Journ of Antimicrobial Agents. 55(3), march 2020, 105924. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105924
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