Our politicians and scientists rely on models that predict a surge in patient volumes in our region in the third or fourth week of April. Despite news reports about reaching the so-called “plateau” in New York City, in Florida, we likely lag by a couple of weeks. We must not be lulled into complacency by a premature sense of security. This is the calm before the hurricane heading towards us. Many of us have experienced that sense of calm, during which we prepare, get supplies, fortify our homes, and hope that instead of making landfall, the storm redirects sparing us the brunt of overwhelming our healthcare system. How much that storm redirects results from the steps we are taking now to protect ourselves and to ensure our healthcare system’s ability to care for those who need it the most. We are hopeful that the anticipated surge in Florida will be lower than what was previously predicted.
STATISTICS (according to Johns Hopkins, CDC and Fl Dept of Health as of 4/10/20 8am)
- Total confirmed cases (worldwide): 1,612,646
- Total worldwide deaths: 96,786
- Total confirmed cases (US): 466,299
- Total deaths (U.S.): 16,676
- Total confirmed cases (Florida): 16,323
- Total deaths (Florida residents): 371
- Total cases Sarasota/Manatee counties: 380
- Total deaths Sarasota/Manatee counties: 21
As Dr. Caballero has pointed out, we need a validated point-of-care to expedite engaging and socializing once again. For now, continue social distancing. Just when we need each more in America, we are forced apart. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy states “we find ourselves with a silent but common challenge of loneliness that people are struggling with all over the country.” Take at least 15 minutes daily to talk with or write a loved one. Helping others may be as simple as a phone call. Allow others to help you as well, mindful of the social distance constraints to keep them and yourselves safe.
COVID-19 Emerging Treatments
There is hope for multiple emerging treatment possibilities for COVID-19 patients. There has been much discussion regarding hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Baycare health systems in the Tampa Bay area are participating in studies on remdesivir and sarilumab. Sarasota Memorial Hospital has joined studies using plasma as well as remdesivir. Dr. Caballero and I review these options daily, relying on each of our over 25 years of experience as internists as we evaluate guidelines from CDC, FDA, our professional associations and journals to remain abreast of the latest developments. We seek to treat based on science that supports proven benefits.
We are engaged in your health. Stay safe.
Jose R Santana Jr MD MPH FACP