TO ENLIGHTEN, NOT FRIGHTEN!!

Thursday 3/19/20:

Good Evening and welcome to another addition of To Enlighten, Not Frighten!

Should you be tested for the viral infection?

I’m sure we would all feel better knowing we don’t have the infection, but at this moment in time, because of the significant shortage of testing that’s available, that just won’t happen. The patients that are being tested now are high-risk patients as stated above and those who are showing signs and symptoms of the virus.

What are the symptoms of this infection?

Fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that starts immediately, and chest pain. An important note here, is that the major difference between Covid 19 and the regular flu that we have been seeing this year so far, is that the regular flu does not start with shortness of breath, but Covid 19 does. So if you get the above symptoms you must contact your doctor immediately.

High-risk patients that have developed the symptoms will be evaluated, tested, and quarantined. If they are very sick they will be admitted to the hospital. Supportive treatment as well as antiviral therapy can be started.

Fact : although there is no cure for the infection and there is no specific treatment as of yet, many drugs are being tried all over the world. Here in New York City antiviral drugs that are used in the treatment of HIV are being given. Surprisingly, It appears that this virus is not having a big impact on the continent of Africa. This was not lost on the infectious disease specialist or the epidemiologist. One of the theories is that because there is such a high prevalence of malaria on the African continent, the people are using a lot of a drug called Plaquanil or Chloraquin. This drug is being used on the hospitalized patients with good success.

So you see, there has been success in treating the infection. At NYU medical center in Manhattan over 100 patients have already been discharged home after successful treatment.

I realize we were all very nervous and insecure about this pandemic. We must all realize that the only way that we can stop the disease is by stopping the spread. You’ve heard much in the media about flattening the curve. With that means is it by using methods such as social distancing, basically not being in contact with one another, the virus can’t spread. When the virus doesn’t spread, less people will get sick at any one time which will ease the burden on the healthcare system.

I heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN say something that I felt was very very intelligent, so I’ll pass it onto you if you haven’t heard it. “Each of us must act and behave as if we had the disease“. Those are intelligent words. Still to this day when I talk to people or patients they make light of the virus. Whereas I don’t want you to ever be afraid of it, you must indeed respect this virus. The only way to kill it is to let it burn out and die and not pass it on to anyone else. So please remember keep 6 feet away from each other so that your respiratory droplets don’t infect anybody else and nobody infects you. Stay out of large groups and for the forseeable few weeks it’s best to stay home and plan activities with your family. Most importantly, if you start to develop any of the symptoms that I mentioned before, please contact your healthcare provider. Many of you might’ve heard that I’ve spent the last week writing an application to help guide people and determine their risks for the virus and how to approach whatever symptoms they may be having. We expect the app to be ready in the next 24 to 48 hours and when it is, we will have a link here where you can get it. It is a free app without any advertisements. I’m very proud of it and I hope that it will help you day-to-day navigate in our present world. Below you’ll find the video that announces the app

So please sleep well tonight, knowing that we’re one day closer to the end of this virus. Good night and stay well!

Warren J. Wexelman, M.D.

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