The devastating effect of COVID-19 is continuing to slowly abate.  Yet, more than 63,000 Americans have lost their lives to this disease that has been diagnosed in over 1.1 million US citizens. Fortunately, over 100,000 have been hospitalized and discharged. This human toll has been great and unfortunately deaths and hospitalizations will continue, hopefully at a slower pace, until we get a vaccine in 12-18 months or so. 

The mainstay of defense against this scourge is “social distancing” meaning staying at home.  This needs to be part of the defense until we get a large portion of the population vaccinated or a medication cure is discovered. It should be noted that one antiviral, remdesivir, looks like it will be effective for severe form of COVID-19. While we wait for further research, we are best served by going on offense consisting of supplementing the social distancing with TESTING (accurate and rapid results), contact tracing (and testing), isolation of the known and suspected positives (and testing), and treatment of the infected. The mainstay of this life and economy saving strategy is obviously testing.  Despite what you may hear from the White House podium, testing in the USA remains woefully inadequate.  Everybody that needs a test, cannot get a test and certainly “everybody that wants a test” still cannot get a test. Currently approximately 200,000 tests per day are being performed and a robust testing strategy requires anywhere from 500,000 to 5 million tests per day.  To this date we have only tested just over 5 million Americans (short of 2%). Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the lead Taskforce medical consultants, states they he will be overly concerned if we do not have the 500,000 daily tests that we have again been promised by early June.  We, as a medical organization, again call for a federally coordinated approach and for the President to fully implement the Defense Production Act (DPA). American manufacturing, mandated by the DPA, can produce all the supplies necessary to get universal USA testing done!

Government, at all levels, can help us more, but as we wait, we must protect ourselves at the current time. Take your medications and do what is necessary to control any health problems.  “Stay home” if you can. When you must go out, wear a mask or nose/mouth covering at any time where you are not able to stay six (6) feet from any other person who does not live with you. As physicians, we hope that Governor DeWine’s recent decision to make the wearing of a mask voluntary for Ohio citizens visiting retail stores be changed back to requiring mandatory usage. The science is clear that the wearing of a mask protects others from the wearer of the mask, who may be among the 20% of people who are known to be asymptomatic.  Additionally, wear gloves if you need to touch anything and wash your hands (20 seconds) or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face. If you sneeze or cough, do so into the bend of your elbow. Change your mask, as necessary.