Eric Paul Justin, MD, MPH, MBA | 1 May 2020

Greetings to each one of you and heartfelt prayers for those who have lost loved ones in service to our country. Their sacrifices are monumental. We feel the pain of the losses and also from the  many remaining questions about what might have been for those dear to each us. We honor them always. We must not forget them.

This weekend will be unlike prior Memorial Days. We will be limited in the way we gather. Pandemic precautions will prevent many of us from hugging and holding those closest to us. And whether personally or simply as a fellow citizen, the on-going COVID-19 related deaths of so many of our country’s men, women, and children are a painful and tragic loss. We must not forget them or their families.

A brief update on COVID-19:

  1. Several promising vaccines are currently under development and undergoing trials with human subjects. Most experts still estimate roughly a year or more until such a vaccine is available.
  2. A drug named hydroxychloroquine or Plaquenil, is mistakenly being promoted for preventing COVID-19 and treating the disease. Consult with your personal physician and/or pharmacist if you have questions about this medication.
  3. No new medications have been proposed for treatment for people who have contracted COVID-19. Remdesivir remains the only such drug that was originally developed to treat other lethal viral diseases and has approval for treating COVID-19 patients.
  4. Ongoing trials using the plasma (part of the blood) from former COVID-19 patients are quite promising. Use of such plasma has decreased severity of disease and shortened hospital stays.
  5. By far the most important things individuals should do…our ‘old friends’ such as ‘social distancing:’
    1. Stay apart six feet or more, especially when indoors such as the grocery store and other stores. Avoid crowded stores.
    2. Wear a mask when you go out of your home and especially indoors.
    3. Frequent hand washing (20 seconds or more) and use of hand sanitizer.
    4. Clean surfaces in your home, especially those touched frequently. Avoid touching your face.
    5. If people around you are coughing or sneezing move away from them or preferably leave. Again, this is especially true indoors.

Know your personal risks and take them into account. Some of the main ones are:

Age greater than 65 years, heart disease, hypertension, lung disease, diabetes, obesity, decreased immune status as with cancer patients and especially those undergoing cancer treatments.

Consider use of an online ‘calculator’ to determine one’s risk from COVID-19. Note that such calculators are not to be considered a diagnostic tool nor are they medical advice:

A general risk calculator:  https://www.covid19riskcalculator.com/

A very detailed risk calculator:   https://www.coronavirusrisk.org/risk-calculator/

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