Archives April 5, 2020

Not the Time to Ease Up

by Barry P Chaiken, MD


As New York City approaches the apex of the COVID-19 outbreak, some might think that what is happening there applies to their own community. This is far from the truth. While NYC sees its rate of infections slowing down and discharges from the hospitals increasing, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester County are starting to see their own surge in COVID-19 cases. In addition, New Orleans, Chicago, and Detroit are bracing for an explosion in the number of new cases. New Orleans officials predict that the city will run out of ICU beds before the end of the week.
A casual observer of the news might think that all this fuss over social distancing is a bit overblown and that a return to normal will be occurring soon. Hey, look at NYC. Things are getting better there so they must be getting better here.

While the daily Federal briefings contain mixed messages around social distancing, use of masks, and treatment options, it is hard for a citizen to make sense of it all.
In the absence of hard facts at the Federal level, the daily briefings by Governor Cuomo, with his various charts, graphs, and matter-of-fact descriptions of the current state of the pandemic in New York, form the basis of measure of the pandemic nationally for many watching the news. Unfortunately, the governor’s statements only apply to the conditions in New York and in no way describe the state of the pandemic in other areas. Governor Cuomo only describes the reality in one disease hotspot in a nation filled with many hotspots going through uniquely different stages of the pandemic.

I hope that the general public, while rooting for the people of NYC, understand that their own fate depends upon them maintaining social distance, washing their hands, and obeying the advice of public officials. While NYC might finally be on the road to recovery, other communities are just beginning their battle with the pandemic. To prevent disaster, they must maintain resolve to continue their fight. To do otherwise, ensures a level of illness and death that would bring immense sadness to all Americans.

Coronavirus in the U.S.: How Fast It’s Growing – NY Times

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