Things seem to be getting a little crazy with this Coronavirus pandemic. People are not getting accurate or consistent information and are starting to get confused and scared. A few things seem clear to me regarding our current situation. The first is that there are way more Coronavirus cases in the U.S. than have been identified thru the limited testing that has been done so far. The second is that, because of the lack of testing availability, even as I write this, the spread of Coronavirus in the U.S. has not been contained and is most likely going to be very widespread within the next few weeks. The current public health strategy being discussed is no longer about containment but about being able to decrease the rate of increase of new cases so our health care system does not get overwhelmed and run out of ICU beds or ventilators for the sickest patients.
The reassuring part of this for our patients is that children do not seem to be under very high risk of getting seriously ill if they get this virus. This may not be the case however for some of our patients with underlying medical conditions. It is these patients that need to be monitored and those caring for them to be vigilant in handwashing and social distancing to protect them.
People need to begin changing their behavior as of today. Keep your social distance of 3 ft. away. Greet people with a bow or fist bump and educate them why you are doing this. Don’t touch your face. Wash your hands every chance you get. Avoid public gatherings, crowded spaces and unnecessary travel. And most importantly, Do Not Panic. Children need to feel a sense of calm by those who care for them during stressful times to help them feel reassured.
If you have questions about whether your child needs to be seen or not please call our office at 727-375-5437. We are triaging patients accordingly by phone. I would suggest thinking of this as a Flu epidemic in terms of responding to your child’s symptoms and need to be seen. At his point it is still not easy to test patients, but this will hopefully change soon. This is a time for calm and rational thinking. Let’s all stay positive and help each other get thru this together.
by Douglass Hasell, MD