With all the information about the Coronavirus pandemic provided from so many sources, it is often difficult to know what is credible and what is not. As a physician, I had the opportunity to attend a briefing given by credible local experts on the Coronavirus epidemic this past Friday. The briefing was excellent and I thought it would be helpful to share some key messages with the community as a whole.
As a community working together, there are things we need to do to slow down the transmission of the virus. We need to make individual efforts to wash hands frequently; clean surfaces; use fist and elbow bumps; keep 3 to 6 foot distance from others; and cover your mouth when coughing.
We need to be prudent. We need to stay at home with flu-like symptoms – 85% of Coronavirus infections have only mild flu-like symptoms and don’t need to see a doctor. We need to work together to protect our family, friends, and community as a whole by staying at home with mild symptoms – just like we do for the flu and other respiratory viruses.
We need to be cognizant of the importance of “flattening the curve” in order to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system. Our system needs to function for all health concerns – not just issues related to the Coronavirus.
On the other hand, there are things we should avoid. We don’t need a situation where worry spreads faster than the virus. We don’t need to let worry and anxiety and panic consume us. We shouldn’t forget the golden rule to treat others like we want to be treated.
We don’t need to complain. We don’t need to make this a political issue. President Trump is a Republican. Governor Edwards is a Democrat. Both leaders are using credible sources to make decisions. The virus has no idea about political parties or demographics.
I have lots of faith in this country and its ability to overcome crisis. I have the same faith in the people of this community and I know our healthcare system can be flexible and overcome during difficult times. I saw it in Katrina.
With that said, this pandemic will be a real strain on the healthcare system in our community, nation, and across the globe for much longer than Katrina. It will impact everyone.
Please consider the fact that people serving you in healthcare are human too. They have the same fears and concerns as anyone else – maybe more so. Despite those concerns, they will do the best they can to care for others.
There are so many reasons for all of us to do our part. Of course, we do our part for ourselves and our family and friends. Beyond that, we do our part to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system. People working in doctor offices, hospitals, and nursing homes can’t run and hide from the virus. Everyday they get up and go to work to take care of whoever requires their help. If they are overwhelmed, there is no one to take their place.
Wash your hands. Use elbow and fist bumps. Stay at home when sick. Clean surfaces. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t panic. Don’t make this a political issue. Keep informed of changes. Care for others. Pray for others. That can be our 10 commandments for the Coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Phillip Rozeman is past Chief of Staff of Willis-Knighton Health System and current Chief of Staff of Minden Medical Center.