COVID-19, a Reason to Stay at Home
Revised 26 March 2020: The novel Coronavirus known as COVID-19, currently making the rounds, is causing major disruptions to our normal, everyday life. While at risk seniors thought to be affected the most by flu symptoms were being advised to remain at home, now everyone is at home. COVID-19 has become a truely, world-wide, pandemic.
“Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.”, according to the World Health Organization.
Recently, even those asymptomatic have tested positive for the virus.Children, adults and the elderly are at risk. Recent analysis in the USA by wall street firms have revealed the virus may affect 150 million Americans. Exponential growth is occurring on a daily basis which appears to following the exponential growth of testing. Are we sure that we have the true picture?
In North America, every single US state and Canadian province has reported COVID-19. Unprecedented, the US-Canada border has closed to all non-essential travel. There are now mandatory 14 day stay at home quarantines. Businesses are closed. Banks are deferring mortgage payments, governments are handing our money, and industries are retooling to produce medical devices and supplies. Seem familiar? This has become a world war, World War COVID-19. We are all uniting to fight a common enemy, an enemy we can not see, an enemy we can not touch.
Face masks, in short supply, are not effective in stopping the spread, stated the Surgeon General. While a good mask may minimize the spread from someone already afflicted with the virus, it does not protect the wearer from contracting the disease. The best defense is to minimize contact with others – Social distancing – wash your hands frequently – Sanitizing – and stop touching your face – OCD’izing. I hope we are not developing into a Haphephobic society. Recommendation: staying at home might be good for risk reduction.
In this age of instant news and global reach, we are saturated with the effects of every single occurrence. Daily conferences by politicians and medical experts keep us abreast of the latest developments.
Commerce is suffering, people are not shopping, eating in restaurants or travelling. Major tradeshows and exhibitions are cancelled resulting in problems for hotels and airlines. Worse yet, unscrupulous vendors are price gouging hand sanitizers and face masks. Even testing kits have become expensive for our health care agencies.
Healthcare providers, nurses, clinicians, first responders are running out of supplies. Drive through testing stations have been established. Caregivers are unable to provide the care they are tasked. Seniors and the frail elderly are trying to cope on their own with family afraid to infect them, and caregivers unable to access them.
One of the greatest joys for seniors or grandparents is visiting their children or grandchildren.Families are requesting their visiting parents and grandparents to wait 14 days after returning from abroad, before coming close to their children and babies. It is disheartening how cautious and concerned we are all about this potential pandemic. Will we ever return to normalcy?
Digital Health Can Help
COVID-19, the virus, is not transmitted electronically as far as we know, so technology can minimize the need to travel and come in contact with others face-to-face. As an example, with Telemedicine routine doctor visits become virtual. Wearables collect vitals and make this data available to those clinicians who can diagnose and take appropriate action, at a much lower risk than an in-person encounter.
Finally, governments have added billing codes for telemedicine, allowing virtual doctor visits to minimize risk. Let’s hope this expands to other devices and remains permanent.
For medications, patients using blister packaged meds who have them delivered every couple of weeks, can also request other pharmacy products and groceries to be delivered at the same time. Of course the blister packaged medications can be inserted in the Medipense, RxPense dispenser, which will remind patients and dispense the meds at the right time. Since the RxPense was designed specifically for the elderly and also supports telemedicine, wearables and improves medication adherence, patients can be effectively managed, safely and remotely.
We need to support our caregivers, our front-line healthcare professionals, our doctors, nurses, technicians and yes, even our politicians who are trying their best to keep us alive, cared for and fed. Hat’s off to all our caretakers. Follow Ellen’s advice – be kind to one another!
Final note for our politicians: We need to remove barriers, allow physicians to support patients globally and promote the adoption of home-based medical and assistive devices for our population. It only makes sense.
- Jernigan DB. Update: Public Health Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak — United States, February 24, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:216–219. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6908e1
- World Health Organization, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019