As the pandemic of the coronavirus (Covid-19) evolves, some truths need to be spoken.
Firstly, surgical masks do not protect the wearer of the mask. They protect others from the spittle that occurs with speech. That is why we wear surgical masks in the operating room.
Secondly, gloves do not protect you if you touch your face, nose or mouth in particular.
Thirdly, the death rate is minuscule compared to the swine flu (H1N1) of the previous decade.
Fourthly, the new corona flu virus, while highly contagious, seems to have very little effect on newborns, children, the young, and the healthy middle aged. It seems to be more of an immune over-reaction of those over 65 who have likely seen a similar viral shell before, likely over 65 years ago. It seems best treated by immune suppressive drugs.
Fifthly, the economic reaction is vastly overblown and irrational.
To their credit, the hospitals have responded appropriately to a perceived crisis and redeployed resources. My guess is that this will be seen as heroic in the short term and over reaction in the long term. History will be the judge.
We have a highly sophisticated health care delivery system which is functioning at peak level, largely through the professionalism, charity, and voluntary goodness of our healthcare frontline.
We have approached system failure of this and, only by the selfless works of our healthcare professionals have we avoided catastrophe from panic.
This should bolster the belief that our basic healthcare providing workforce needs to be maintained, not replaced by an obviously incapable federal system of single payer.
At the end of the day, this is what the shear decency of the medical workforce can do.
Dr. Christopher Casscells, M.D.
Center for Health Policy
Caesar Rodney Institute