I think I have been asked this question more often this past year, than almost any other time.
The question nearly always arises these days in reference to Covid-19.
What do I think? Are we doing too much? Too little?
Is it real? Is it a hoax?
First, a disclaimer.
I am an oncologist, not an infectious disease expert.
Second, I am exposed to much of the same information as the public, with an occasional medical journal article.
So, without further ado, here is what I think:
I don't know.
Or, perhaps better put, I don't know all.
Here is what I think, however:
1) This is not a hoax.
Covid-19 is very real. It is more infectious than the flu and it is almost certainly deadlier.
The problem is, the death rate is skewed by the fact that we really don't know the true denominator of how many people actually had it.
If 40% have virtually no symptoms, it is possible that the percent who actually die of the disease is less than we thought.
However, let me assure you that all these viral videos purporting it to be a fake disease is just total bullshit.
Please, do not get suckered in by these bizarre conspiracy theories.
2) Is there a treatment or cure?
I think it is fair to say that there appear to be some treatments that may help, but the data is very unclear.
Let me give you an example.
One of the most powerful drugs we have to fight cancer is adriamycin.
When first discovered, it was tried out on cancer patients, and the conclusion was that it didn't work.
Then, when someone reviewed the data, they said, "Wait. You only gave this drug to people who were almost dead. It was too late. Let's try it earlier."
They did, and it was proven to be very effective.
The same may be said for many of the agents being used today.
If I give Drug X to someone who is almost dead, chances are they are going to die anyway, and the drug will seem ineffective.
On the other hand, if I give it to someone who is only mildly ill, it may seem to work wonders, but that's because those people were going to get better anyway.
So the same drug can appear worthless or miraculous. We won't know until better studies are done.
3) Will I get the vaccine?
4) Are you nervous about it being rushed?
Yep. But I'm still going to get it.
5) What about all this mask crap?
Really annoying, I agree with you.
And, I do worry that we are setting ourselves up for something worse.
Part of kids growing up is getting exposed to all sorts of infections. Now they are not.
But the viruses and bacteria are all still out there. So, at some point, when they are back in school, with no masks, they'll all have colds, strep, GI Flu (which my granddaughter seems to have now, BTW) and all the other stuff kids get.
It will be a challenge.
Personally, I think we have got to end this lock down.
It was initially started to relieve the health care facilities that were being overwhelmed.
They aren't now, and I think we need to let people begin to live their lives.
Yes, some will inevitably die.
Personally, i think we are merely postponing it.
Those at highest risk will remain there.
So, if it's not Covid, it'll be the flu, pneumonia or something else.
I know that this sounds incredibly harsh coming from a physician, but we simply cannot remain in this state forever.
We need to emerge, slowly, with precautions, but we must emerge.
In the end, we will have a vaccine, it will work it's way through our society, and it may become one of those illnesses that occurs in the background and we don't write front page news articles about it anymore.
Just like we don't write about people killed by the flu, cancer, car accidents, etc. It will just be part of life.
However, be aware that if anyone claims to know "THE TRUTH" about Covid-19: STAY SKEPTICAL!
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Filed under: Health Care