Be cautious, we are not out of the woodsBy Veita Bland, M.D. / May 21, 2020
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As we start to process our way of re-entry into our new normal life with COVID-19, there are several items in which we need to take note. First, it is important for people who are in high-risk groups to remember they should remain sheltered at home.
When we look at people who have been affected the most by COVID-19, we see striking similarities. Most have had some medical problems and it is not always older people. People who are obese need to be careful. Those who have uncontrolled hypertension should also be vigilant. People with uncontrolled diabetes are also at risk. Those with any lung problems should be more than careful — that would include people who smoke, have COPD, asthma, are on supplemental oxygen or any problems with their breathing.
It goes without saying that if a person has a history of heart problems, he or she is at risk. Any type of kidney or liver problem increases your risk for having serious complications due to COVID-19. Any medical problem that compromises the immune system is to be watched closely. HIV, of course, but if you are on medications that include steroids, medications that improve your eczema, psoriasis, or arthritis also impedes your immune system.
Some of these aliments that I just listed may seem a no brainer that they increase your risk of contracting COVID-19 but I see over and over again that people may know this but fail to see themselves truly at risk for COVID-19. Is the reason for such behavior that we just do not want to admit that we are at risk or that we believe we are invincible? I am not sure, but people fail to see their true risk and are thus not careful— they do not wear a mask and they fail to practice social distancing.
As I write this article, more than 90,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. That number increases every hour of each day. There are great trepidations as we enter Phase 1. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a national treasure with his experience in infectious disease, warns us to be on guard. His words need to be heeded. He states that the “consequences could be really serious for reopening too soon.” He cautioned that the number of deaths is actually higher than actually reported and will grow even more if some areas of the country reopen prematurely. He cautioned if that occurred there is a real risk that we will trigger an outbreak that we may not be able to control. That would not only lead to more deaths but would set the economic recovery back as well.
The head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert R. Redfield also told U.S. Senators “we’re not out of the woods yet.”
I again caution everyone to stay in place if you can. If you cannot stay in place, practice social distancing, wear a face mask. Show you care about your fellow human being and protect yourself as you protect your fellow man and woman. Limit visits to relatives and friends, especially the elderly and those with the comorbid illnesses listed above. As The Jackson 5 said, “Stop, the life you save may be your own.”
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.