COVID-19: Dodged the Bullet?

Updated: 4 days ago

K. Litak M.D., FASAM

It has been months since the COVID19 was proclaimed a pandemic. On Friday, March 13, 2020, the US was closed to most visitors. A day later, anyone entering the country was to self-quarantine for 14 days. By June, the lockdown eased, we started feeling more comfortable socializing and venturing out of our homes past our mailboxes. As we spent months in almost total lockdown, many experienced loss of income or employment, illness, and loss of loved ones. Businesses shut down or went online if they could. Everything became more difficult. Simple things like getting a haircut, a driver's license renewed, air travel, school, child care, or elder care or shopping—everything is different. Life events like weddings and funerals, and so on changed in previously unimaginable ways. Hit the hardest are the most vulnerable members of society, especially the elderly. Even when people do not die of the COVID19 infection, the disruptions in care, supply chain, restrictions on visiting, lockdowns, quarantines pose a significant burden and result in indirect fatalities. More and more people die alone. While we have shown collective resilience and ingenuity, many aspects of our response will not be defined as humanity's finest moments. I suspect that the total number of fatalities in the US and worldwide is much higher due to these disruptions. I was able to work from home at the beginning of the pandemic, using a telemedicine platform, and so did many of my colleagues. While it worked for me and was a positive experience for the patients, I am happy to be back in the office and see people 'in person,' not on the screen. My temperature is taken daily upon entering the facility, and those staying in also get COVID19 upon admission. I am comforted by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and protective clothing, though I do not do physical examinations. I have been washing my hands often and do my best not to touch my face. While this seems to reduce the risk of infection, it may not prevent it. The news of vaccine prospects is trickling in, and there is hope we may have one by the end of 2021. One of my colleagues, Dr. Dawson, has worked from home since March. That is why I assume from reading his timeline; he interacted with all those contractors during lunch break. Dr. Dawson survived the COVID19 infection. He shares his personal experience with the infection and different disease approaches within his household in his blog. Here is a link to his website, where he describes his personal experience and shares his reflections. As we keep learning more about the disease itself, much remains a mystery.



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