Recently, Governor Baker extended the stay-at-home advisory deadline from May 4, 2020 to May 18, 2020…two more weeks!
The other day, I had the opportunity to watch the controversial, and now removed from, Youtube press conference from Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Arlin Massihi from California on April 22, 2020. Top medical professionals across the country are either adamantly agreeing or disagreeing with their views.
Since you are now unable to watch it for yourself, I will try my best to share the highlights with you. Luckily, I took copious notes on their discussion because I thought I might use their information in a future blog post. I never thought the video would be taken down by Youtube for violating “Youtube’s Community Guidelines” and this would be how I would share it with you.
Who even knew that Youtube practiced censorship on a press conference?
You be the judge.
The video itself, which is in two parts, runs just about an hour. The main point that they are hammering home, backed by their own research data, is that we need to begin to lift the quarantine sooner because the benefits are not outweighing the risks.
We hear everyday the multitude of reasons why we are continuing with the stay at home advisory, the main ones being to “flatten the curve” so we do not overburden our healthcare system and to protect our most vulnerable populations from infection. These doctors state that these are absolutely valid benefits to a quarantine for persons at risk, but are questioning…
“Is social isolation warranted for the healthy?”
What are the risks they refer to? There are several secondary effects that they identified due to the increase in stress related circumstances brought on by this social distancing.
- An increase in child abuse/molestation
- An increase in spousal abuse
- An increase in alcohol use
- An increase in anxiety and depression
- An increase in suicides
- Loss of educational opportunity and academic skills
- Economic downturn and personal economic strain due to job loss or furlough
- Decrease in medical care to people with chronic conditions
- Loss of revenue to all non-essential businesses, including hospitals because there are no elective surgeries or medical appointments in general
Dr. Erickson and Dr. Massihi compare COVID-19 to the flu and make several references between the two illnesses including a whole bunch of data from studies they have done in their facility, as well as from government reporting agencies such as the CDC. While I do not have any numbers to share with you, they stated that there is little statistical difference in the number of infections when you look at the two diseases. (I will also let you know that there are several medical professionals who refute their comparisons of flu and COVID with data of their own, citing that COVID is indeed much worse than the flu.)
For every other pandemic that our country has faced, the sick were the ones who were quarantined, not the healthy. They go on to further explain, our bodies need exposure to viruses and bacterias in order to build up antibodies and boost our immune health. Otherwise, our immune systems will suffer and we will all be more susceptible to illness than we were before.
They go on to discuss the “herd immunity” and “vaccines” as the two ways our bodies will acquire antibodies to COVID-19. Herd immunity, or the number of people who have un-immunized immunity to a given illness, and a vaccine are the ways that most every medical professional is saying we need in order to resume normal activities. We are about a year away, depending upon who you ask, from the vaccine. The only way to get herd immunity is by being exposed. Sounds like a Catch 22 to me!
They continue on with examples of questioning why it is okay to go into the grocery store or Home Depot with a multitude of random strangers, but it is not fine to go to church or a restaurant for the same amount of time?
One possible answer, they suggest, is fear. Fear of the unknown. We know about the flu. We expect it every year. This disease is new. We don’t have the same familiarity with it and so we become fearful of what we do not know or understand. But, they suggest that we should treat this illness in a similar fashion to how we treat the flu. They recommend widespread testing of workers on an ongoing basis. Those that are healthy and not at risk, should be allowed to return to work. Those who are not, should be the ones who should be quarantined.
Clearly, this topic is hot right now. Most Americans are experiencing ‘Quarantine Fatigue” and want to return to some sense of normalcy, sooner rather than later. What do you think? Do you think the secondary risks, such as child abuse and the economic downturn associated with social isolation outweigh the benefits of maintaining it? How do you feel about the past practice of only quarantining the sick and leaving the healthy to let nature take its course to develop your own immunities? Do you think Youtube should be removing a press conference that suggests we think about the implications of harmful societal things other than COVID-19?
I always say, the good thing about opinions is we all have one! Your feelings and opinions are shaped by your experiences. Feel free to share yours here. This is a nonjudgmental forum, because if anyone says anything to personally judge another person’s opinion, I will simply delete it!