I’m a doctor at Nebraska Medicine. Here’s what I’m telling my family about COVID-19.
"The COVID-19 pandemic will be a challenge to the USA unlike any we have experienced in our lifetime. "
The following is an email from Nebraska Medicine critical care anesthesiologist Dan Johnson, MD, to his friends and family about the seriousness of COVID-19. It is shared with permission from Dr. Johnson and Nebraska Medicine. You can visit their website here: click here.
I have been in communication with a friend who is a critical care physician from the Lombardy region of Italy. The health care workers there are living in a nightmare, having to decide who lives and who dies from lack of oxygen because their health care system is overwhelmed.
- The country views this challenge like WWI and WWII, and almost everyone does the right things, and we will be harmed but okay.
- Many people do the right things, and many don’t, and we will have the same struggles that Italy is enduring.
- People blow this disease off as no big deal, and our health care system (and life as we know it) will be crippled.
You have all probably seen the concept of “flatten the curve.” If we fail to flatten the curve, and we fail to eliminate the portion of yellow above that line, there will be dire consequences:
- More people, including some of our friends and family, will die.
- Health care workers like me, Rachel, and several of you are at higher risk of dying.
- All health care workers will have to witness the needless deaths of patients who could have survived.
In the absence of a vaccine or an anti-viral in the immediate future, our best chance to avoid overwhelming our hospitals is non-pharmaceutical interventions. The two best ways to do that are (1) social distancing, and (2) excellent hygiene.
- You and your kids should stay home. This includes not going to church, not going to the gym, not going anywhere.
- Do not travel for enjoyment until this is done. Do not travel for work unless your work truly requires it.
- Avoid groups of people. Not just crowds, groups. Just be around your immediate family. I think kids should just play with siblings at this point – no play dates, etc.
- When you must leave your home (to get groceries, to go to work), maintain a distance of six feet from people. REALLY stay away from people with a cough or who look sick.
- When you do get groceries, etc., buy twice as much as you normally do so that you can go to the store half as often. Use hand sanitizer immediately after your transaction, and immediately after you unload the groceries.