As in many parts of the United States and the world we begin reopening, it is important to remember to stay safe and continue practicing physical distancing and using a mask or face covering in public. Locally, in Arizona, our numbers have gone way up. We have had a jump in the percentage of positive cases, we are setting records for new cases with 2,392 cases yesterday and huge increases in health care utilization of ICU beds and hospitalizations as a result of more people being sick with COVID-19. I have shared my thoughts and views on what this means and how we can protect ourselves and our families on local and national media. To hear my answers and watch the interviews, please visit my Press and Media page.
So with everything that is happening, the question is not whether or not we should stay opened up or close down again. The ultimate question is how we choose to behave that shapes how we reopened and what impact this has had and will continue to have on our health. Our choices, whether we follow guidelines (see below) or just pretend everything is normal by ignoring the wisdom of public health, will determine how well we do and how many people we protect as this marathon pandemic continues in the months and years to come. I know it has taken its toll on all of us, on our mental health, on the economy and for many of us our income and jobs! Yet, the reality is COVID-19 is here to stay and we need to make adjustments to better protect ourselves and our communities until we know more and ultimately develop a vaccine for this earth shaking virus.
Remember, although not everyone with COVID-19 gets really sick, being infected with the virus with little or no symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t spread it to others. For those who are younger and healthier, you may get it and be just fine but your mother or father or aunt or uncle or grandparents can get it from you and they may become really sick needing to be hospitalized or worse.
Who's High Risk?
Anyone with a chronic disease, particularly diabetes, obesity, or heart disease including those with high blood pressure. Also, anyone over the age of 65. New studies are also suggesting that having low levels of vitamin D can also increase your risk for getting sick to the point of requiring hospitalization or oxygen. Just today news broke on new research on a common steroid medication, dexamethasone, that was found to be effective in treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Despite these findings about vitamins and potential medications to treat COVID-19, we still don’t know if these risk factors or treatment options are universally effective for everyone as we are still learning more about all this as research is being done around the world. I will be sharing more on these findings on what we know so far in future blog articles.
For now, I want to reiterate what we do know in terms of practices that we can all do right now to keep ourselves safe. If you are in a high risk group, then please think twice about going out to eat at a dine-in restaurant or walking around a crowded mall. If you do go out, please make sure to take these key precautions as recommended by many public health officials throughout the world:
- Wear a mask, this not only protects you but also protects those around you, think of it as your good deed for the day and as a barrier between you and the invisible virus that is out there even though you can not see it. The mask has to cover your nose, mouth and chin securely not loosely.
- Maintain your physical distance from others, 6 feet is a minimum and even more is better.
- Wipe and disinfect surfaces and wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face or mouth while in public.
- Optimize your health now if you have a chronic condition, make sure you are taking your medications and making those healthy lifestyle changes to keep it under control. For folks with diabetes, check your blood sugar and change your diet, remember food can be your medicine.
Know the science, know the numbers in your community and stay safe, remember the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have done unto you,” which means stay healthy with best practices, eat well, be active, keep your distance, wear a mask in public and do your part to help all of us get through this together!
Wishing you health and happiness,
Dr. Shad (Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH) is a Stanford-trained medical doctor, associate professor in academic medicine, speaker, and author with expertise in nutrition and culinary medicine, wellness, public health and prevention.’
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