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Is America prepared for the next coronavirus wave? Experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned that Americans could be in for “a bad fall and a bad winter” if the country is unprepared. Are we?
Now that more than 30 states have relaxed their stay-at-home orders allowing Americans a taste of normalcy, will a second wave be as bad or worse than the first go-around?
Despite Dr. Fauci’s forecast, America will be prepared this time. We’ll fight back smarter and stronger because we will be armed with better strategic planning and preparedness. We’re ready this time to fight this invisible enemy.
From the onset, China was not forthcoming with facts we vitally needed about this novel virus. While he was criticized at the time, President Trump’s decision to declare a public health emergency and shut down foreign travel was essential in slowing the rate of infection, saving a significant number of lives.
As the virus spread from coast to coast, we watched in disbelief as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 climbed, and cried as lives were lost. Pleas for ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel, hospital beds, and test kits raged on for weeks. During this time, doctors and scientists learned more about how the virus attacks multiple organs such as the lungs, heart, and kidneys. We also learned that the majority of people infected are either asymptomatic or have minor non-life threatening symptoms.
As a nation, we’re using this valuable information to be better prepared if and when a second wave of COVID-19 arrives.
America is the greatest country in the world. Our ingenuity, work ethic, and ability to rise to greatness in times of great struggle have always served us well. While warnings of a second wave sound scary and unsettling, America is far more ready to handle it the second time around – if it happens. Here are a few reasons why.
We now have an ample supply of the vital resources we lacked in the beginning, such as ventilators, face masks, face shields, gowns, and other necessities needed for our medical professionals. Thanks to the tremendous response from American companies, we are ready to fight back.
President Trump formed a new initiative, called the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve, to build up our supply of ventilators and to allow hospitals to lend unused surplus ventilators to other hospitals in the country who need them most. We can surge ventilators where they are needed when they are needed.
Initially, we had no known medications or vaccines to stop COVID-19. Today, there are approximately 21clinical trials working on COVID-19 vaccines or treatments. Pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and an Oxford Clinical Trial, are diligently working on developing vaccines. Both the CDC and NIH are cautiously optimistic of a vaccine in the near future and President Trump predicted there will be a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year.
Several medications are under study or development which could reduce symptoms, leading to faster recovery and reduced mortality. Remdesivir, a drug recently approved by the FDA to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, is a leading contender. Hydroxychloroquine along with azithromycin are other possible options that may effectively reduce the viral load in patients with COVID-19.
Herd immunity is another way to blunt COVID-19.
Pandemics like COVID-19 occur when populations are vulnerable with no immunity. We achieve herd immunity in two ways: either a large proportion of the population gets infected, or gets a vaccine. Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, at least 70% of the population needs to be infected to achieve herd immunity.
However, herd immunity does not apply to everyone. We will still need to protect our most vulnerable – the elderly and those with co-morbidities or other underlying conditions.
Widespread testing has increased across the nation. From serology testing used to diagnose COVID-19 to antibody testing showing who’s already had it, we are gathering more accurate data on how deadly the virus really is and how many people have or have had it.
There’s also exciting research underway for those who already have antibodies for COVID-19. Clinical trials are using convalescent plasma therapy deploying the blood and antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients to help others infected with it.
We are also far smarter today than ever before to face the virus head-on if there is a second round.
We wash our hands more often, and longer, now. Many of us wear face masks and are socially distancing. We are more conscious of cleaning counters, computers, our cell phones, whatever we’ve touched to eliminate potential viral spread. We “visit” our elders through computer technology instead of in person, doing our part to protect them.
And until we get a vaccine for this virus, our annual flu shots will be more important than ever in providing a clearer picture of when a person gets sick if it’s the flu or COVID-19.
We’re in the fight of our lives but we will win. Americans don’t lie down, give up and quit. We will continue to improve as we learn more and we each do our individual parts 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 and confident and making smart decisions. That is the only way to live and to beat COVID-19 once and for all.
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