By David Klein
Doctors diagnose and treat all types of medical ailments, from injuries and infections to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
We expect doctors and medical researchers to have all the answers. COVID-19 is different. The medical community is still in discovery mode and searching for solutions based on science.
In March, America’s top concern with COVID-19 was with coronavirus patients overwhelming the health care system and running out of hospital beds and ventilators. That’s why so many preventive measures were implemented, like closing schools, restricting access to senior living facilities, limiting restaurants to carry out or delivery, and putting elective surgeries on hold.
These measures have been devastating for many, wreaking economic and emotional havoc. Our unemployment rate is over 10%. Hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as retail establishments, have been particularly hurt.
In July, just as our region’s economy was seemingly on the rebound, we were hit with another wave of the virus, causing Lee Health’s four acute-care hospitals to nearly reach their staffed capacity. This prompted the advice that we again take action to slow the spread of the virus. If we didn’t, we would risk demanding more care from the delivery system than it can provide.
Progress is being made as the pandemic stretches from spring through summer and into fall, but we still have more questions than answers. Sadly, more time is still needed. To avoid spreading the virus and to create opportunity for our economy to at least in part recover, we should just look at how our health care leaders right here in Southwest Florida and their families have been living their lives:
- Face masks: They wear masks everywhere outside of the home, trying to never touch the masks. They frequently replace disposable masks and clean washable masks on a daily basis.
- Social distancing: They avoid crowded environments and congested spaces like elevators and hold conversations at a safe distance.
- Good hygiene: They don’t just rinse their hands; they use soap, warm water and lather up for a minimum of 20 seconds. They are careful not to touch their mouths, noses and eyes.
- Hand sanitizer: They continuously squirt sanitizer into their hands if they’re unable to fully wash their hands.
- Flu shots: They get their shots to avoid getting sick from the flu, and because being weakened by the Flu increases susceptibility to COVID-19.
- Physician appointments: If they have other serious chronic illnesses (like heart or lung disease), they keep their appointments with their physicians to ensure these conditions are well-managed and to better prepare them to fight COVID-19, if they get it. Likewise, they take their maintenance drugs when they’re supposed to.
- Errands: They try to use curbside pickup or home delivery services, and only visit the supermarket once every few weeks and at off-peak shopping hours.
- Visits: They avoid visiting high-risk individuals to avoid spreading the virus, and limit personal contact to those with similar hygiene and social distancing practices. If family members are high-risk, they tell others to stay away. They avoid large indoor gatherings where strained ventilation systems and close contact make disease transmission more likely.
- Technology: They are still in touch with friends and family through electronic means and conduct as much business as possible virtually.
- Immune system: They strengthen their immune systems by eating a balanced diet, taking vitamins (especially Vitamin D) and minerals (especially zinc), getting enough sleep each night and managing stress levels.
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have adopted these strategies as a means of avoiding COVID-19 and stopping its spread within our community.
If we behave as our doctors and other caregivers do, we can get this virus under control and sooner get back to life as we love to live it. We can get our economy moving, too! If we don’t, it could be well into 2021 before better treatment is found and/or a vaccine is widely deployed.
Education and awareness are key factors that can change behavior, and subsequently, the trends. I don’t favor passing laws dictate how we should behave. We just need to act sensibly.
Let’s just do what the doctors order!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Klein is a former CEO of two health care companies and a resident of Bonita Springs. He is a District 3 candidate for Lee Health’s Board of Directors.