FCC COVID-19 Update
By best estimates, we are within days from the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, in California.
That’s awesome news. If the actual numbers bear this out, it means that social distancing has worked, and that it was instituted (thank you, Governor Newsom) early enough to “flatten the curve” of cases and deaths that was taking off like a rocket. And THAT, as you may have heard, is a win, even though the daily tally of new cases will be continuing for the foreseeable future.
Flattening the curve doesn’t mean the number of cases will drop to zero; it means it won’t be accelerating upwards, doubling every few days and overwhelming the number of ICU beds and ventilators in the state to treat the most seriously ill. Some treatments are showing early promise — though hydroxychloroquine, perhaps not so much — but we still don’t have a definitive treatment for COVID-19, and a vaccine is at least 5 months away from the earliest human trials.
That means our medical treatments are basically supportive: many will recover spontaneously from the equivalent of a bad cold, but some will need intensive care in hospitals, and some will require ventilators to breathe for them until they improve. That care depends on hospitals not being overwhelmed, and current projections are cautiously optimistic that if you live in California and need hospital care, there will be hospital resources to treat you.
Mathematical models also make clear that the numbers go completely the wrong way if we stop efforts to limit the spread of the virus. This is NOT the time to go “Whew!” smile, and relax after the monster apparently gets defeated in the horror flick. You know what happens next.
Social distancing has worked, but it’s not perfect. Everyone should be spending 99% of their time at home, leaving only to get food and necessities, all the while maintaining 6 feet of distance from others, wearing a mask, and not touching the face to avoid transferring germs from things you touch to your entry portals (eyes, nose, mouth). Yet at Family Care Centers, we’re still hearing from people with colds and other minor respiratory illnesses. Where are folks contracting these, if they’re following the guidelines? From other people and objects that other people have contacted, because you basically have to be a trained medical professional or researcher to do the measures 100% properly.
Luckily, we don’t all have to be perfect to beat this thing. We just have to be on that side of the cutoff. And the collective we, informed by medical research and the best that science has to offer, can finesse the cutoff. Social distancing may evolve to a gradual return to work, as testing becomes more widespread and reliable, and contact tracing — identifying close contacts of persons with the virus — gets underway to focally limit exposure and spread. And eventually we should have both treatments and vaccines.
But for now, we cannot, not any of us, finesse the early math.
COVID-19 cases have been growing exponentially, and exponential growth is devastating; it’s the difference between addition and multiplication. If you have 10 apples and eat an apple a day, you’ll be out of apples in 10 days. If you double the number of apples you eat each day, you’ll be out of apples on the 4th day, and have 502 apple-shaped bite marks in your walls on day 10.
In non-numerical terms, you end up with New York or Italy.
Please, please stay the course. We will change course as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Stay home and avoid congregating in groups
- Maintain 6 feet of distance from others on those rare occasions when you’re out and about for necessities, like food; wear a mask, even cloth, when you venture out
- DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE, EYES, NOSE, OR MOUTH WITH YOUR HANDS WHEN GOING OUT
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds (2 Marilyn Happy Birthday Mister Presidents) when you come home, use sanitary wipes on the grocery cart handles, and use alcohol gel (rubbing for 20 seconds, too) after getting back in the car
- Wipe down high traffic areas in your home several times a day (e.g. 3 times daily, doorknobs, faucet handles, refrigerator doors, and countertops), basic soap and water cleansers work fine
- If you feel like you’re coming down with something, don’t spread the wealth, keep your distance from others including household contacts; be mindful of those particularly vulnerable because of their age or chronic medical conditions
Important Notice: Family Care Centers has now activated a Telehealth option that will allow Video Visits using your smartphone, tablet or computer. Please contact us to see if your visit qualifies. As a reminder, you MUST CALL the office before coming in to minimize the risk of Covid-19 exposure.
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