To my Patients and Friends,
Here are some of the latest updates on COVID-19… I hope this helps to separate the wheat from the chaff.
A big thumbs-up
The FDA has just authorized emergency use of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. Studies have shown that the agent can shorten the duration of COVID-19 illness. According to a statement by Dr. Anthony Fauci on April 29, the use of remdesivir “will be standard of care” for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Whereas studies of other drugs previously touted to be effective against the virus have not demonstrated evidence of efficacy, this could be a game-changer. And although some experts are wary, CEO Daniel O’Day has expressed confidence in Gilead’s ability to ramp up production of the drug.
According to this recent report from South Korea, positive test results from people who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may in fact be indicative of innocuous leftover viral fragments, rather than of active viral particles. Although the jury is still out as to precisely how long viral particles can linger in our nasal passages after a COVID-19 illness and whether or not we can become reinfected, this is somewhat encouraging news.
Expanding the bubble
This article discusses a logical proposal for the gradual re-expansion of our interpersonal horizons by carefully redefining our social structures. The idea isn’t quite ready for prime time, and it certainly isn’t foolproof. It has its downsides, but it also has some merit. Think of it as something to cautiously consider down the line, pending further guidance from scientists and other experts.
How We Feel 3.0
Once again, I’m including this reminder to please download the How We Feel app and check in daily. Recently endorsed by Governor Ned Lamont, it’s an invaluable tool which “anonymously provides scientists with critical health information needed to understand the spread of COVID-19” through disease tracking and contact tracing. It’s free, it’s gaining traction, and it’s very easy to use. Tools like this will continue to play crucial roles in enabling us to combat this devastating virus.
This figure illustrates why minimizing the number of people to whom a potentially infected individual is exposed with the help of contact tracing apps like this one- in conjunction with lots of testing and diligent physical distancing– is so critical.
The state of the State
Governor Ned Lamont has just announced his plan for a phased reopening beginning May 20, assuming cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease. According to his announcement, “beginning May 20, the state will allow the opening of outdoor areas at restaurants and bars, outdoor museums and zoos, offices, retail outlets and boutique shops… the plan will only continue if the state can also ensure it maintains adequate supplies of protective gear, tests and hospital capacity and enough resources to perform contact tracing of confirmed COVID-19 patients… businesses and events where it’s more difficult to practice social distancing will take longer to open… more guidance for restarting school and other large gatherings would come next… and companies will still be urged to keep their employees working from home if possible.”
It will be a slow, deliberate process, but it’s a start.
The bare truth
Check out these German doctors’ unique expression of dismay at not having been supplied with adequate PPE- a sentiment universally shared by healthcare workers here in the U.S.
Another gaze into the future
Epidemiologists are considering how the COVID-19 pandemic may behave in the coming months; here’s a review of likely scenarios. In my opinion, one of these three are inevitable; only time will tell which one comes to fruition.
Our best friends
This interesting article reviews how scientists are using canines to help sniff out coronavirus. The research is in its early stages, but this kind of innovative thinking is what will ultimately enable us to keep the virus on the other side of the fence.
Speaking of which...
This is funny.
That’s all for today. Please continue to stay home, stay calm and stay well… and have a nice weekend!
Check out this clever and timely mix of clips from one of the best sitcoms ever produced.
That’s all for today. Please continue to stay home, stay calm and stay well! See you soon.