Got Questions? We've Got Answers!
March 31, 2020
As part of our guest features series, we bring you the facts and insights from Dr. Grieper and Melinda Grieper who are on the frontlines in Central Florida hospitals, leading teams caring for COVID-19 patients.
With the increasing amount of 'fake news' and misinformation circulated on social media, it's of great value hearing directly from the experts themselves. We thank Dr. Grieper and Melinda Grieper for taking time out of their extremely busy schedules to share this with us!
Interestingly, about 30% of patients also report a loss of taste and smell.
Home care is appropriate for persons with mild infection and those who can adequately isolate themselves from others. Drink a lot of fluids to stay hydrated, get rest, and over-the-counter medicines will help with symptoms.
It is also essential to know the emergency warning signs as well and to seek medical attention immediately if they appear. Warning signs include, but are not limited to: trouble breathing, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, sustained fever is higher than 100.4, which is not responding to medications, or a fever of 103 or higher.
This finding is very similar to data recently published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control & Prevention, which reported 80.9% of the cases were considered mild, and only 1 in 5 people experienced severe or critical illness. Some people might not have symptoms at all!
The H1N1 was also less contagious. The expected number of individuals who could catch the swine flu from a single infected person was 1.46, and for COVID, that number is estimated to be 2-2.5 currently.
The symptoms of H1N1 typically show up 1-4 days after contracting the virus. COVID-19 seems to have an incubation time of 4-14 days; the person may have no or very mild symptoms and, therefore, could be spreading the virus for up to 2 weeks before ever feeling ill.
Then add in the era of social media. The spread of inaccurate information and myths about COVID-19 spread faster than the virus itself. While there is a reason for concern, misinformation has also led to unnecessary hysteria and hoarding of products needlessly.
The population at highest risk is a topic of great interest to those of us in the medical field. The apparent populations are those persons with a compromised immune system, the elderly, and those with pre-existing chronic illness. Statistics are further showing that about 70% of all cases are male. COVID-19 is infecting persons of all ages.
Let's face it, our Emergency Rooms and hospitals are already operating at or close to capacity every day, without COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a new virus that no one yet had immunity and also so different that it needs its own vaccine, according to WHO. That leaves every human susceptible to the infection. Once a vast majority of people have been infected with COVID-19 and survived it, herd immunity will come into effect after our bodies have created the antibodies to the virus. Most experts estimate a "good herd immunity" at about 90 to 95% of the population to have recovered and become immune to the virus.
This will be a highly studied aspect of COVID-19 as it is a new virus, and we don't yet know how protective the antibody response is long-term.
This is what you hear in the media as the Mitigation Strategy. It allows us to protect those in our community who are more susceptible to infection as well as to protect our healthcare workforces. It is a delicate balance of minimizing deaths from infection and the economic impact of viral spread.
There are complicated decisions ahead for governments. However, how we individually respond to information on how to prevent transmission will be just as important as the government's actions. We have to keep the community informed of how to avoid infection and, in turn, that will help manage the economic downturn by being able to lift mitigation measures safely.
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces around you daily
- Stay at home if you're sick
- Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze
- If you are not sick, don't wear a facemask unless you're caring for someone who is ill
We also know we will be doing some hard work to get ahead of this and flatten the curve that we spoke about. We have already started that work with the many strategies we have seen put in place throughout our communities. We will be socially isolated and uncomfortable for a short time. However, we will get through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Many brilliant medical professionals and scientists are working diligently on finding the right treatment protocols and, ultimately, a vaccine. I see those healthcare providers every day, thinking outside the box and searching for the moment that the cure is found. While we are hard at work and giving our all, we need you to help us out.
Please help slow the spread so we can provide the best care possible to every patient and give us a moment to find the treatments that work. I promise you that we are working hard and want to beat this quickly and efficiently. Again, we will get through this together!