Many of you have called us for guidance to protect yourselves from the virus causing COVID-19. Our nation is a week or two behind what has happened in Europe, particularly Italy. We now see the drastic steps several countries have taken. Sadly, the explosion in deaths seen demonstrates that pandemic management requires significant social distancing. While this may be uncomfortable and inconvenient, it must be widespread in order to flatten the curve so that our health care system is not overwhelmed. As physicians, we fear that any of our patients may succumb to this disease not just because of COVID-19, but due to a lack of access to proper services such as ventilators. If the healthcare system is overwhelmed because of COVID-19, there is still a need for patients who have any other medical condition, such as heart attacks, strokes, and so on.
Five states, (California, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington) are reported to have closed bars and restaurants. New York City is closing movie theaters, gyms, small theater houses, restaurants, and concert venues.
We suggest that you cancel social public gatherings. Even if Florida has not closed restaurants, theaters, etc., now is the time for you to be Commander in Chief of your own health and take extreme steps by avoiding those venues. Of course, do your grocery shopping, but keep your distance. Even if one friend comes over for dinner, you are creating new opportunities for transmission. Avoid the gym. COVID-19 symptoms may take several days to manifest. A dinner guest, or someone sitting next to you at a theater or walking by you at a restaurant who looks extremely well if perfectly capable of transmitting the virus.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Sarasota is blessed right now with excellent weather. You can still exercise, go for a walk if able to do so, sit outside, but when possible, stay physically away from those, outside of your household. Avoid visiting nursing homes, to avoid exposing other elderly people who are the most vulnerable to complications and death from this virus. Stay in contact with loved ones via your phone and video chat.
Finally, again a reminder to frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds each time, particularly if you have gone out such as for groceries.
In the event you do become ill, call us at Private Physician Services right away, as Dr. Caballero, Dr. Santana, and our staff remains always available to guide you and provide care when you need us.
STATISTICS (according to Johns Hopkins, as of 5pm on 3/15/20}
- Total confirmed cases (worldwide): 162,687
- Total confirmed cases (US): 3,244
- Total deaths (U.S.): 62
- Total confirmed cases (Florida): 115