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Dr. David Samadi: We Shouldn't Fear a Second Wave

Dr. David Samadi: We Shouldn't Fear a Second Wave

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By Saturday, 23 May 2020 09:58 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In sports, a good game plan is always the best way to win.

Apparently, America will need a very good game plan this fall as experts are predicting it's inevitable a second wave of COVID-19 will reappear.

Not the sort of news any of us want to hear.

Especially for those living in states which have recently relaxed their stay-at-home orders, allowing restless Americans to once again gradually move around more freely since the coronavirus disrupted their lives approximately two months ago.

Will America Be Ready for the '2nd Wave'?

Many of us are wondering will a second wave be as bad or worse as the first?

Just how bad could it get?

These are definitely tough questions to answer.

But, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Americans could be in for "a bad fall and a bad winter" if the country is unprepared.

With respect to this theory, I beg to differ.

Why?

Because the models of population death were wrong, I believe the second wave of this epidemic will be both mild and manageable.

America will be prepared this time and will disprove anyone’s predictions of being caught off-guard. This time we'll fight back — and do so smarter, stronger, and with more strategic planning and preparedness.

This time we know far more about the symptoms, the incubation period, and which individuals we need to protect most from this invisible enemy.

This time we have a much better game plan.

Taking a Look Back Is Helpful

In monumental disasters such as the coronavirus pandemic, part of being prepared for a second wave is to first take a look back at where we’ve come from.

While opinions vary as to when COVID-19 actually arrived on American soil, President Trump’s decision to shut down foreign travel by declaring a public health emergency was essential in slowing the rate of infection, significantly saving lives.

From the start, we were dealing with a novel virus we had little knowledge of.

China was not completely forthcoming with the facts we vitally needed to know the extent of what this virus could do.

As the virus infiltrated the country starting in the state of Washington, we witnessed daily briefings of both the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of lives lost to this virus as it spread from coast to coast.

Pleas for ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel, more hospital beds, and testing for the virus raged on for weeks. During this time, doctors and scientists learned that coronavirus can attack and affect multiple organs in the body: the lungs, heart, and kidneys. They also learned the majority of people who have been infected with the virus are either asymptomatic or have minor non-life threatening symptoms.

Each day we were able to gather more important information helping expose just how deadly and contagious this virus is. In a short period of time, as a nation, we have stepped up to the plate as never before, using this knowledge to begin the process of preparedness we will require if and when a second wave of COVID-19 arrives.

Why America Will Be Better Prepared for a Second COVID-19 Wave

America is the greatest country on the globe due to our ingenuity, work ethic, and ability to rise to greatness in times of great struggle. While warnings of a second wave sound scary and unsettling, America is far better to handle it the second time around — if it happens.

Here's shy: 

  • Sufficient Accumulation of Medical Resources

Because of the tremendous response from American companies, many voluntarily ramped up productions of necessities such as ventilators, face masks, face shields, and gowns keeping our doctors, nurses, emergency medical response teams, and others safe from the virus.

We now have an ample supply of these vital resources.

A smart offensive move by President Trump was to form a new initiative, called the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve, created to allow hospitals to lend unused surplus ventilators to other hospitals in the country needing them most. This buildup of surplus ventilators will be a tremendous boost for future needs if COVID-19 comes back harder this fall.

  • Pharmaceutical Company Efforts

Right from the start, we knew COVID-19 had no known medications or vaccines to stop it in its tracks. Immediately, the search for a cure was ignited and now there are approximately 21clinical trials working on COVID-19 vaccines or treatments.

Various pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and an Oxford Clinical Trial, have stepped up their research efforts working diligently on developing vaccines, some possibly ready as early as September. Both the CDC and NIH are cautiously optimistic about this aggressive timeline with a chance of availability for the public by the end of the year.

Even President Trump just recently predicted there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year.

There’s also good news of certain medications showing promise in not only reducing deaths from the virus but also reducing symptoms leading to a faster recovery. A leading contender is Remdesivir, a drug recently approved by the FDA to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine along with azithromycin may be possible other options effectively reducing the viral load in patients with COVID-19.

These medications are important tools we will now be able to utilize in the future for treating the virus that we originally did not have.

  • Herd Immunity Efforts

Some disagree, but herd immunity could be one way to blunt COVID-19.

Pandemics like coronavirus occur when populations are vulnerable. Meaning we have no immunity to the virus.

Immunity develops when our immune system creates antibodies that fight off the virus, either as a result of a vaccine or a natural occurrence. Then, if exposed again to the virus, our immune system will eradicate it before it takes hold. Once you develop immunity, your body is no longer available as a host in essence, making you literally a "dead end" for viral transmission.

But, herd immunity does not apply to everyone.

We will still need to protect our most vulnerable -- the elderly and those with co-morbidities or immunocompromised.

But the United States approach to flattening the curve with stay-at-home orders, besides collapsing the economy, may have inadvertently also significantly slowed our ability to reach herd immunity. This may result in us having to deal with the virus much longer than necessary in the future. A strategy used in the Netherlands, maintains that "while the concept of a total lockdown will make sure fewer people become infected, when you return to normal life, society will again be exposed to the danger. We achieve herd immunity in two ways: either a large proportion of the population gets infected or gets a vaccine. What we know of COVID-19’s infectiousness, we will likely need at least 70% of the population to be immune to have herd immunity.

By opening up the economy, those who are healthy and under the age of 65, should be allowed to carry on with their lives. Social distancing practices and wearing of face masks should still be observed as we don’t want to overwhelm our hospitals or have a higher death rate.

  • Widespread testing becoming more common

It was a slow start, but finally widespread testing is increasing across the nation.

From serology testing used to diagnosis COVID-19 to antibody testing showing who’s already had it, more tests are available with the goal of testing the majority of Americans.

Of course, the more we test people, the number of those diagnosed with COVID-19 will increase. But antibody testing provides advantages such as giving researchers a better understanding of how many people have been infected providing more accurate data on how deadly the virus really is.

With widespread antibody testing, there’s also exciting research underway for those who’ve already have antibodies for COVID-19. Clinical trials are using convalescent plasma therapy using the blood and antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients to help others infected with it.

I also want to remind everyone that the definition of the second wave should not be the rise in the number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 solely because as we do increase our testing capabilities, we will be finding more patients with this disease. The end goal should be the mortality rate and the number of patients dying from this disease. That is the measure we should use to judge how to handle our economy.

  • We’re Smarter Now Than Earlier This Year

On the first day of 2020, none of us had any idea what was in store for us. After being sucker-punched by COVID-19, we’ve pulled ourselves together and we are far smarter than ever before to face head-on a second round.

Take for example the simple act of washing your hands.

In 1850, a Hungarian obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis gave the best advice ever that has saved countless lives since: Wash your hands. While our current society has always endorsed and emphasized hand washing, it was doubly so during our fight to fend off COVID-19. This practical advice along with reminders to avoid touching your face has been widely accepted and likely has helped slow the spread tremendously.

However, another offensive move not as widely embraced has been the wearing of face masks and social distancing. Culturally, this is a new concept for all us with many strong opinions on both sides for or against it. There is no conclusion as to how long this may need to be implemented, but until the viral infection is under control, we need to keep this in place.

Vaccinating against influenza will be one more offensive step to take and more critical than ever this year. The more people who get a flu shot, the better chance we will have of determining when a person gets sick if it’s the flu or COVID-19.

We Will Win the War 

We’re in the fight of our lives but we will win this war. Americans don’t lie down, give up and quit. Now that our strategic game plan is better than ever, we will continue to improve, become more knowledgeable, and do our individual efforts to keep one another as healthy and free of this virus as possible.

While any of us could live in fear and panic, that is a choice. Make your choice to live responsibly while remaining calm making confident decisions. That is the only way to live and to beat COVID-19 once and for all.

Dr. David Samadi is Director of Men's Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He is a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City. He is regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., trained in oncology, open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery. He has vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Read Dr. David Samadi's Reports – More Here.

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We’re in the fight of our lives but we will win this war. Americans don’t lie down, give up and quit. Now that our strategic game plan is better than ever, we will continue to improve.
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2020-58-23
Saturday, 23 May 2020 09:58 AM
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