Is it time to rethink our response to Covid-19?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

This is my update, added on June 23, 2024 wherein I look back and see how I did in my assessment of the pandemic and critique of the response to it by our government and public health officials. All new entries will be in this italicized red font.

To be perfectly clear, I am not a virologist, epidemiologist, or public health expert. I am a plastic surgeon, i.e. a physician, with forty two years of practice experience and more than average knowledge of the human body than most people. I find myself dismayed at the abject state of panic, anxiety, and fear in the US today because of SARS-CoV-2, the official name of the virus that causes the respiratory illness Covid-19 and the reason for the current epidemic.

We are acting as though this is a totally new virus. It is not. We have seen corona virus, the family of viruses that includes SARS-CoV-2, infections before. It is “novel” in that it is a new strain and, as such, we do not know all the details of its behavior, which is not to say that we know nothing. Actually, we know a lot. Like most respiratory viruses, it is spread directly from one person to another by one of two mechanisms: droplet spread in the air via sneezing and coughing and by hand contact with a surface on which there is live virus, then touching one’s face (the virus can enter via eyes, nose, or mouth). The second mode is uncommon. We know it can be largely avoided by addressing these two methods of transmission, a relatively simple matter for anyone with a modicum of sense. We know it is most severe in those who are older and/or have compromised immune systems or other underlying conditions, such as chronic lung disease, obesity, asthma, and such. This is typical of most such viruses. Seasonal flu behaves this way. We know that, unlike flu, it appears to spare, to an unexpected degree, those who are very young.

It became clear very early in the pandemic that Covid was uniquely benign to children, teenagers, and young adults and that there was more than a one thousand fold increase in severe disease between the younger group and adults over 70, yet for the next two years we treated Covid as though it was equally dangerous to everyone.

One Comment, RSS

  1. Ellen Wilcox

    OH, yes!  I have been talking to friends about everything you’ve mentioned, especially depression, suicide and substance abuse. I’m passing this on to many!  Thank you.

    Ellen Wilcox 352-409-1618 – Mobile 352-259-1547 – Fax

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