TO ENLIGHTEN, NOT FRIGHTEN!!

Tuesday 03/31/20

I thought it would be time for an update on the situation going on in our community with Covid.

It is true that the local hospitals are saturated with Covid cases. There certainly are many hospitalizations of older folks with very severe cases. What I think is surprising to many of the clinicians,  is that when it affects a younger person it affects them very severely. For the majority of patients who we think of Covid based on the symptoms (because we’re not testing in New York), they seem to be getting a high fever for 5 to 10 days typical symptoms of a respiratory tract infection and then the fever goes away. Afterwards they feel very tired and rundown which is very typical of a viral syndrome like mononucleosis.

The most frustrating part of Covid for me as a physician, is that almost no two patients that are getting the disease are experiencing the disease the same way. In one family I have an elderly patient with pneumonia hospitalized and got out in three days and never needed as much as an oxygen mask. Her son-in-law is home sick with a high fever and can’t get out of bed, and her daughter is absolutely symptom-free! All three of them are positive on testing for Covid!

I am speaking to approximately 30 patients a day either by telemedicine phone call or text. The symptoms they are ranging from stuffy nose to respiratory wheezing and failure.  No way to gauge who will get what. Frankly, having a medical degree and 40 years experience means nothing. Every day is a new and different day. 

It’s probably not valid to look at death rates for New York. Since we aren’t testing,  the actual number of positive patients is lower than it should be,  which makes the death rate appear higher. That having been said we are in the middle of the disease here and we’re fighting at the best way we know how. 

There is a positive note. The New York Times ran an article about a company that I know very well that does temperature monitoring all over the world. By using the temperature device which is Bluetooth over the Internet, They have seen a decrease in new fevers starting and many prolonged fevers ending. There is some hope that perhaps the virus is starting to Slow down. There also seems to be some data servicing that admissions to the hospital in New York City may be a bit less over the last several days.

Of course now is not the time to relax any measures that you’ve put in place to stay well. We’re all just going to have to take care of ourselves and each other and not put anyone in danger. So stay home take this time to get as much rest and sleep as you can. 

Whatever you’re doing now to protect yourself and your family will ultimately save lives to all the people around you.

I’m confident that we will make it through this. More importantly, what I hope is that we learn a lesson from what we’ve been through.

Join us tomorrow night at 8pm for a conference call, a chance for anyone to ask questions and talk live about the viral situation in Brooklyn. We will be using ZOOM for the phone/video conference. Use this link to join at 8pm on Wednesday April 1st. Do you have questions you’d like to share beforehand? Please send them my way now.

Below are links to the software application that we just published. It’s free for all and no ads!  Feel free to share it with all.  

Until then stay safe and be healthy.

Warren J. Wexelman MD

Warren J. Wexelman, MD
NYU School Of Medicine
Past President, Flatbush Jewish Center