THE younger generation is also vulnerable to get COVID-19! It is a deadly misconception that they are not, a fake news that puts the elderly at even greater risk. Irresponsible people of any age could make this pandemic worse than the virus itself, by being arrogant and inconsiderate, not cooperating with the health authorities. Some of the Florida spring-breakers on beaches shown on TV a few days ago, disregarding warnings to stay home or practice social distancing, tested positive for COVID-19!
It is obvious that those young people on their school break – celebrating on beaches and bars, etc., not heeding the call to hunker down and do social distancing, not staying home to self-quarantine themselves – do not realize how vital isolation is when it comes to a killer infectious disease, like COVID-19.
Perhaps believing they are invincible because of their robust immune system, they apparently did not know that in the United States alone, almost 30 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 were between 20-44 years old, and 18 percent between 45 and 54, as reported by CDC. In France, more than 50 percent of COVID-19 infected patients in the ICU are under the age of 60.
While it is true that seniors are at a higher risk to die from COVID-19 infection, especially those super seniors with medical issues (diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure, heart and/or lung disease, etc., who are at the highest risk, like those immuno-compromised patients), young people, are nonetheless at risk of catching the virus and possibly die from it. To protect the elderly, young people must be far away from them, and everybody is safer at home.
Postpone our appointment with God
Let us try to postpone our meeting with God as long as we can. This is a wonderful world we live in. And we can certainly make it even more wonderful, with understanding, patience, forgiveness where needed, love and compassion among all peoples of all nations on this planet Earth.
During this crisis, all who can must stay home and enjoy family bonding. We have so many electronic gadgets plus internet access to help us “beam” ourselves (like Captain kirk) to any part of the world. With Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, Vudu and others, with Google, Alexa, Siri, Bixby, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Messenger, Tango, Skype, we can do a lot to enjoy at home. Our spirit and our mind can still soar to greater heights in this age of endless information and mind-boggling technology during this crisis, while all countries around the globe commune with each other to defeat a vicious invisible common enemy.
No handshake, no hugging
Self-quarantine, isolation and social distancing are all vital and very effective in our battle against COVID-19. Smiling and greeting each other, instead of handshaking or Hi-Fiving, or hugging, or cheek-kissing, even with our elderly parents or grandparents are part of our DIY strategy to protect the more vulnerable among us – the seniors, especially those with health issues. Most of the carriers, asymptomatic or with symptoms, are usually the young ones who are out on the street. Let us stay home, remain healthy, and not be the carrier and courier of death. Also, washing hands well after touching money, our mail, and delivered packages will help prevent a disaster.
Heroes amongst us
Our healthcare providers, physicians and nurses, allied care personnel, and the first responders, who are on the frontlines of this war against killer COVID-19, are our unsung heroes who risk their health and their lives to serve patients of this pandemic. Some of them have actually died. While we, at home, have the choice to stay away from those infected patients, these unselfish and dedicated heroes are in the war zone, putting themselves in harm’s way, exposing themselves to the bullets and bombs during this pandemic, just to save countless lives. They also risk the lives of their family when they get home to catch some sleep and rest. Indeed, we must never forget them. Without them, hundreds of millions of people would die around the world. The Bubonic plague (Black Death, caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis) of 1347-1351, the worst pandemic, killed an estimated 75 to 200 million people in EurAsia, wiping out about 1/3 of the population of Europe. Let’s protect our health defenders or we all could die.
Each of us must make sure these frontline heroes and foundation of our national and individual health are themselves protected. Let us not hoard masks, gowns, medications, and other items they might need while serving the public. Above all, let us follow the guidelines recommended by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the COVID-19 Task Force, in order not to get infected ourselves and add more patients to an already overwhelmed healthcare system.
If we, as individuals, cannot help provide healthcare or other vital function to society, let us stay home and OUT OF THE WAY of the health providers and not be an added burden to society by catching and spreading COVID-19. As we said in our columns the previous weeks, a clean and well-ventilated home is our best isolation sanctuary from COVID-19 to protect ourselves and others.
If only China was transparent
According to the whistleblower in Wuhan, the first case of nCorona virus infection (later officially named COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV2 virus), was in November 17, 2019. The official report from China to the WHO was December 31, 2019, 34 days after the fact.
If the first patient and all the healthcare providers involved, all the patient’s family members and people the patient had contact with, let’s say 100 of them or even more, were traced and quarantined for at least 2 weeks, the infection could have been contained in Wuhan, and not spread outside of that city and around the world. The outbreak could have been contained within 2 to 4 months right there and there. Isolation works. The Black Death (1347), Spanish Flu (1819), SARS (2003), H1N1 (2009) MERS (2012) have all proven that quarantine worked. Some experts think COVID-19 could infect 40 to 60 percent of the 7.8 billion world population before it ends.
Existential – Who is culpable?
After the COVID-19 pandemic is totally defeated and this existential crisis is over, investigation on culpability and accountability must begin. The World Health Organization, the United Nations, in cooperation with any interested nation devastated by this killer virus, must independently conduct a study on China’s health system and all issues and questions (the delay in warning, the lack of transparency. the mysterious death of the young and healthy whistleblower physician), and all other matters surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far infected more than half a million and killed more than 20,000 people, devastated businesses and national economies in almost 200 countries, and painfully disrupted billions of families and lives around the globe.
A preventable cataclysmic horror like this should never be allowed by the international community to ever happen again.
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. Email: [email protected]