By Bob Arnot, M.D., sponsored by DeVry University
Understanding the spread and impact the COVID-19 pandemic also means looking at the vast number of concerns associated with it. Here Dr. Arnot shares key concerns and examples.
For every one patient confirmed positive by testing for coronavirus there are five to 10 other undetected infections. Each of these five to 10 poses a risk to you and your families since they may have few if any signs of illness. Although these individuals are half as infectious as confirmed cases, they are responsible for nearly 80% of new cases.
KIDS INFECTING GRANDPARENTS
The most vulnerable patients are over 70 and have diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Their greatest risk of infection may be their own children or grandchildren who may be silent carriers and have much greater social exposure to the virus.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome requires fast access to technical ventilators to breathe for the patient. In New York, Boston, Washington state, hospitals are quickly reaching full capacity. London had only seven ventilators left for the entire city. Patients progress in as little as eight hours from shortness of breath to respiratory failure. There's nothing more frightening than being unable to breathe and finding there are not enough ventilators for you.
In Italy sick older patients are turned away and died at home for lack of ICU beds. Even in the early days one patient per hour was dying in New York City. Doctors may soon have to triage to these patients with the best possible chance of surviving and who have young children in their families. U.S. hospitals are writing protocols to determine who lives and who dies.
The epidemic is so severe in Iran that satellite pictures of mass graves have incited. Iran heeded few warnings and suffered an exceedingly high death row.
The director general of the world health organization articulated that testing every possible case, isolating and treating them was the only way to beat the pandemic, this is what the Chinese have done. This approach to testing in the U.S. the UK and Italy has failed.
70 of the original 92 cases in Boston came from one single company meeting at Boston's Long Wharf hotel among Biogen executives and their guests. Within weeks Boston became one of the biggest national hotspots showing the infectiousness of the virus.
The number of new infections increases at an exponential rate which may quickly overwhelm any health system.
Wealthy New Yorkers evacuated to the Hamptons or locals complain they bought up many essential groceries and overwhelmed the local healthcare facilities. Bostonians are fleeing to Cape Cod, Nantucket, Vermont and New Hampshire.
One of the worst behaviors seen in the epidemic is hoarding. Here are store shelves around Boston. Those from high risk areas like Boston and New York went to resort towns like Nantucket and Stowe, Vermont emptying their shelves and perhaps bringing the virus with them putting local populations at risk.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the author. The content is intended to provide general information on the nature of the pandemic, potential exposures, and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding a medical condition. Neither DeVry University nor its employees or business partners, nor any contributor to this content, makes any representations, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.