We are still in the first phase of this pandemic, be summer safeDr. Veita Bland / July 17, 2020
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We are now in the midst of summer.
The time of the year when a lot of people vacation. Unfortunately, this year will be different. We are amid a pandemic that a large part of the world is successfully treating, but not here in America. The rest of the world has been able to shut down, honker in place, wear their masks and cut their spread of COVID-19.
Many countries have faithfully practiced contact tracing. In those countries, old fashion detective skills allow these workers to find out who an infected person has been around and curtail the spread of COVID-19 by strategically testing these people then rapidly isolating them with supportive quarantine measures. Unfortunately, some people have not been as forth coming with these contact tracers for various reasons. People try to protect undocumented family and friends not totally realizing the importance of contacting them. Hopefully as people realize their importance, greater cooperation will occur.
The ways of testing people are evolving. Checking for a fever has been the hallmark on the frontline. The problem is that there is now much evidence that the people we want to isolate may not have yet developed a fever. They are the asymptomatic or they are presymptomatic. This includes 30 percent to 40 percent of people. We now believe that 80 percent of transmissions come from 20 percent of these people. The question is if there is wearable technology that could alert one to a problem? Researchers have been working on improving “wearable technology” such as smart watches and bands, which would record changes in heart rate, changes in sleep patterns or a decrease in the number of steps taken in a day. Researchers believe this technology may be helpful in tracking COVID-19 cases. This type of information has been used in studies to diagnose influenza. There is still much work to be done to totally confirm this technology.
What we do know is that washing of hands, social distancing and wearing of a mask will help to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
The numbers are still staggering. We have lost over 140,000 people. This one country has lost a quarter of the number of people lost worldwide and we see more deaths and illness daily.
Yes, it is summer and people who plan to take vacations should take care. Family reunions hopefully have been postponed. Some states in the northeast like New York are either prohibiting people from entering, who come from states where COVID-19 is surging, or they are requiring that those travelers self-quarantine for two weeks. If you plan to visit Europe, you may be out of luck as they have banned Americans from many of those countries as they continue to protect their population from COVID-19.
This is the year of the staycation. Enjoy your immediate family and friends safely. Learn the art of the ZOOM, Facetime, Facebook and other technology. Make extra money making those face masks.
We must make these changes for our future. Remember we are still in the first phase of this pandemic. Winter and the flu are not far behind and what a combination that will be.
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.