By Chip Ross
April 30, 2020
As a Board-Certified physician in Internal Medicine, I have spent 40+ years diagnosing and treating infectious diseases in Emergency Departments and private practice. I have been potentially exposed to AIDS, hepatitis, influenza, whooping cough, diarrhea, and many other infectious diseases hundreds of times, if not thousands of times. Healthcare workers have a healthy respect for life and infectious diseases. Over the years I have carefully tried to practice protective measures and have been fortunate enough to have never become ill with any of the above diseases with preventative measures. Health care workers manage the risk of potential infection.
COVID – 19 is a highly infectious virus that can cause severe illness, permanent damage and death in any age group. Simply check the figures at any state’s Health Department website. But older adults and younger people of any age with underlying health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure are at higher risk for severe illness. There is no doubt that the debate will rage for years as to whether disruptive interventions taken primarily by the Federal and State government, and augmented by the County and City government averted the projections of various disease models or were superfluous.
However, there are some facts that can be counted upon to be fairly certain with COVID-19. A person can be asymptomatic and still be infected and transmit the disease. The most effective way to prevent getting the disease or managing risk, is to stay at least 6 feet from other people and not touch anything an infected person has touched or breathed on.
For at least the next 4-6 weeks my wife and I will continue to do what we have done for weeks; respect life and the virus. We will only go out for essential reasons such as going to work, getting groceries or restaurant takeout, and other items we cannot order and have delivered. We will not be going over to friends’ houses, eating out, walking the beach or Greenway or otherwise closely interacting with other people – all activities we enjoy doing. We will continue to ride our bicycles staying at least 10 feet from anyone else. I will continue to participate in City meetings with appropriate social distancing. We will continue to manage our risk of getting infected and potentially infecting others.
Once you get ill it is too late to wish you had respected the virus earlier.