COVID 19 Update

Blog#36- 7/21/20

By Richard Davis

It is clear that the United States is doing a deadly poor job of controlling the pandemic. There are too many people who think that having a beer and mingling in crowds is more important than saving lives. And there are too many people in power who have turned the pandemic into a political battle.

As of July 20, 3,834,208 Americans have been infected with COVID 19 and 142,601 have died. The U.S. has had 24% of the 606,173 deaths worldwide.

Most other countries have slowed disease spread because they have had organized government efforts to provide citizens with the tools to stay safe. There is no national effort in this country and that means the numbers will continue to rise and more people will die, despite the best efforts of individual states.

Wearing masks in public and socially isolating as much as possible are the only tools we have to remain relatively safe. People with functioning brains understand that but, when a country has a president who is leading the lemmings over the cliff, it is hard to maximize health and safety.

It is important to keep in mind that COVID 19 is not similar to a case of the seasonal flu where you get sick for a while, recover and go on with life as usual. A recent study published on July 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by researchers in Rome should give sensible people a reason to protect themselves as much as possible.

According to the JAMA report as described on the Medscape web site, “… 87.4% of 143 previously hospitalized patients (who were treated for COVID 19) had at least one persistent symptom 2 months or longer after initial onset and at more than a month after discharge.”

They go on. “Post-discharge assessments of patients who met criteria for SARS-CoV-2 negativity, including a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, were conducted from April 21 to May 29. Among the results: only 12.6% of the 143 patients were completely free of any COVID-19 symptom, 32% of patients had one or two symptoms and 55% had three or more, none had fever or other signs and symptoms of acute illness, 53.1% of patients still had fatigue, 43.4% had dyspnea, 27.3% had joint pain, and 21.7% chest pain, 44.1% reported worsened quality of life.”

In other words, if you are sick enough to be hospitalized for treatment of COVID 19 you may not recover for a very long time, if at all. The researchers also noted that COVID 19 can cause permanent lung damage and that patients may require oxygen for the rest of their lives because of lung scarring.

The Medscape report also states that, “Here in North America, doctors are also addressing the reality that the road to recovery can be a long and upward one, with persistent symptoms worse than those seen with acute influenza infection. “We see patients who were first diagnosed in March or April and still have symptoms in July,” said Zijian Chen, MD, an endocrinologist and medical director of Mount Sinai Health System’s Center for Post-COVID Care in New York City.

“Persistent symptoms are much worse for COVID patients than flu patients. Even flu patients who spent time in the intensive care unit recover fully, and we can optimize their breathing before discharge,” Chen told Medscape Medical News.”

Only five percent of people who test positive for COVID 19 become sick enough to require hospitalization, but if you are among that five percent chances are your life will never be the same. Think about that the next time you move beyond the bounds of your own home.

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