After the COVID-19 storm getting back toward normal

COVID-19, has taken the world by storm. No one could have ever imagined the scale and intensity of this pandemic, which has upended every aspect of life as we know it. It is looking like we are past the storm and have enough intensive care capacity to treat what remains of the virus. Your safety and security are most important to our caregiving mission. Dr. Fogel and his staff are responding to the evolving situation, and I wanted to share our specific actions to make sure you receive safe care during this time.

The office is open to see patients.  We are limiting people in the office to just the patient.  The patient and the doctor must wear a mask.  Please bring a mask.  Family can listen them and ask questions on speaker phone.  We practice social distancing and clean all surfaces between patients.  Surgery is being done for elective cases in COVID free situations at our usual hospitals and day surgeries.  At the surgery locations the patients are tested for COVID before surgery and the physicians and nurses are tested every 2 weeks.  This is designed to make everyone comfortable and allow elective surgery to go forward.  We are all working towards a more normal surgical practice environment but we realize we will all have to make some accommodations for the months to come.

 I want to share some good medical advice with you.

There is good treatment being reported around the world with hydrochloroquine , Z-Pak, and zinc. It works 99% of the time in mild cases.  We have the potent antiviral drugs for the severe cases.

But what about prevention?  Here are my personal recommendations.

Number one, wash your body and clothes when you come home from the outside. As a general precaution, washing with soap removes all foreign material from all surfaces.

Number two, public health policy is aimed at doing what works for high risk groups.  Our primary concern for high risk should be the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and high density areas such as nursing homes, jails, and meat packing plants

Therefore if you fall into a higher risk category, it is prudent to wear a mask when you’re in close quarters with someone who could spread the virus to you.  The mask issue is with enclosed spaces (in close quarters) where some people are vulnerable and some are not.

Wearing a mask in your car is unnecessary.

Wearing a mask in the park is unnecessary.

There is NO MEDICAL REASON to wear a mask outside. NONE.

It seems to me that we could be courteous in such situations and wear a mask.

Part of the mask issue is how we can co-exist in civil society.

Unfortunately, we are surrounded by mask shaming and mask hysteria.

Unfortunately, many people have not had  access to quick and effective and cheap treatment yet.

It is important to hear the concerns of all people around you. No matter what, The Lockdown will end and we will have to interact with one another. Some will be insistent on over-masking and others will rip their mask off. We should all try to live in peace.  I hope that many of the important aspects of the surgeon patient relationship in the office and at the hospital will improve over the summer.  I would encourage all of us to be outside where the sunlight increases vitamin D which is helpful to all of this as well as effectively disable the COVID-19.

Author
GUY R. FOGEL MD Orthopedic Spine Surgeon San Antonio Texas

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