Don’t Call it a Second Wave. Call it a Second Chance.
I am a pulmonologist, practicing in New York and this piece took me over six months to craft. At a time where data was scarce and evidence based medicine/randomized trials were not easily accessible, we looked for patterns that other countries might have noticed. More than half a year later, we are gaining traction but realizing how prevention can be a key to treating this. Before I begin, I have to state in full disclosure that I have an affiliation to physiology, not to politics. Politics will not fix this. We the people of the United States, will fix this.
If history repeats itself every forty to fifty years, we have experienced a unique opportunity- History has repeated itself more than once within this calendar year. Without necessarily completing our first wave, countries outside the United States are seeing a second wave. From a pandemic standpoint, rather than speaking about what was done and what needed to be done, let’s speak about what we need to do. As humans, when we are in control of our lives without inhibitions or barriers, we feel the most comfortable.
It is hard to imagine that not long ago, our great state of New York quickly became a COVID epicenter within the United States. Securing resources was priority but we showed the world that we could reduce our caseload with a unified response. The residual effect of what we will face from fighting this is equally important. Acting fast to reduce that residual burden and avoiding past mistakes is key. Let’s cut to the chase. Certain countries in Europe are experiencing a second wave because gatherings are occuring, masks are not being worn and complacency has set in. Want to prevent this from happening in the United States? Let’s start with a four step prevention tool: Wear a Mask. Limit indoor interaction. Avoid non-essential travel. Socially Distance.
A lockdown would likely ensue if those steps are not followed. Don’t believe it? Here’s the data on one of the most vulnerable groups where it was effective- cancer patients. https://www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/does-social-distancing-help-prevent-coronavirus-covid-19-spread.h00-159383523.html
We will continue working on the vaccine, finding the cutting edge treatments but by wearing a mask, we can prevent thousands of cases. This will equate to a prevention in COVID related deaths, hospitalizations, unnecessary resource utilization and I can promise you that our country will normalize with an end in sight. If we knew this in March, life would be different but now we all have wisdom.
We are ALL part of the treatment. Whether we know someone who contracted COVID or not, the transmissibility is preventable by wearing a mask and to continue social distancing . What if we could stop the second wave?
Here is our chance. Let’s stay United.
Rohan Mankikar, MD