If you have been watching this space over the last two-plus months, you will say what follows sounds like a broken record, it is. We healthcare providers say that our country will manage COVID-19 by social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment while we await therapeutics and a vaccine. This message is not getting across and the impact of the virus is clearly becoming worse. We need social distancing, not political rallies that result in Whitehouse staff and over a dozen Secret Service agents having to quarantine, not to mention, a number yet to be known of infected attendees. Governors from several states have either slowed down or reversed the phases of reopening! We need everybody to wear their masks when in public according to the CDC and health experts on the Coronavirus taskforce. In regards to testing, Senators Cruz and Cornyn have objected to the Trump administration striping federal support from 13 testing centers across the USA. Fighting this pandemic requires testing that is multiples of our current levels. Contact tracing remains woefully inadequate and therefore we are not able to benefit from a proven tool which has been used to control and eliminate contagious diseases. Lastly, though we have learned a lot about treatment, our healthcare system is again becoming overwhelmed. Hospitalizations are up in multiple states and deaths will follow. In Houston, TX. , only 2 out of the usual 1300 ICU beds remain available, the Children’s’ Hospital is primed for admitting adult ICU patients, and all elective surgeries have been banded (also in 3 additional Texas counties). In the face of the dire need for health insurance the Trump administration just last night filed a brief to totally eliminate Obamacare. We are appalled at this effort which would eliminate pre-existing conditions coverage for EVERY American and result in 23 million people losing insurance coverage. It is extremely cruel that 500,000 of these have been added to the Obamacare roles as a result of employment loss due to this pandemic.
CoVID-19 is destroying our health and livelihood because too many people are following the administration’s message of denial. Our country is not getting the federally support which would allow successful state administration, and local execution of an actual plan. The public health policies that are essential to fighting this disease must be supported, not sabotaged by the top of the federal government.
Wear Your Mask, PLEASE!
Clyde E. Henderson, MD
Cincinnati Medical Association