Dear Signature Family and Friends,
COVID cases, percent of positive tests and hospitalizations are on the rise in North Carolina and elsewhere. Please continue to be vigilant about avoiding exposure. Now is NOT the time to let your guard down.
Rapid Tests – most rapid tests have a high FALSE NEGATIVE rate (meaning they are negative when someone actually has COVID), especially in asymptomatic people. Recent examples of the pitfalls of using rapid testing to screen asymptomatic people are the Rose Garden event at the White House and the Baylor football team (28 active COVID-19 cases despite testing 3x/week). We DO NOT recommend rapid testing for screening asymptomatic people.
A word about exposure – it takes several days after exposure for a COVID-19 test to become positive. We recommend waiting a minimum of 5 days (or at onset of symptoms) for COVID-19 testing after exposure.
Get a flu shot. Now.
Consider purchasing a blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter to keep on hand in case of infection. Ensure you have a functioning thermometer.
WHAT WE KNOW and WHAT WE DON’T KNOW currently:
What we DON’T know :
- The size of the next peak or when it will end.
- How badly the influenza season combined with COVID will strain our healthcare system. Get a flu shot. Now.
- The long term medical effects of COVID-19 in people who have recovered from the initial illness.
- How long the effects of a vaccine will last.
- How long will we have to live under the current conditions.
What we DO know
- The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing locally, nationally and internationally.
- We are bad at understanding risk, statistics and probabilities.
- Frequent testing does NOT reduce the need for mask wearing.
- Vigilance fatigue is setting in and people are letting their guard down.
- Outdoor transmission seems to be much lower than indoor.
- The effectiveness of life saving interventions (masks, physical distancing, hand washing).
- Coronavirus does not spread easily from surfaces.
- Weather doesn’t affect transmissibility.
- The complete SARS CoV-2 genome sequence.
- You do not need to wash your groceries.
- SARS CoV-2 can spread as droplet or aerosol.
- MASKS WORK
- Large gatherings, particularly indoors and unmasked can lead to super-spreading and should be avoided
What we PARTIALLY know
- Which are the best vaccine(s) and when will they be available. [Several trials currently just hit pause due to side effects so there may be a delay]
- Wearing eyeglasses more than 8 hours a day may be protective against infection.
- Those who recover from COVID-19 should avoid vigorous exercise for a few months.
- If recovered people are immune and for how long (possibly 90 days). There are now several confirmed reports of reinfection either >90 days or with a 2nd strain.
- Air travel may be safer than previously thought (if everyone is masked).
- The total case fatality rate.
- What it may take to reach “herd immunity.”
- The risk of COVID-19 in children.
- Which pharmaceuticals may be effective.
- Normal levels of vitamin D may result in better outcomes.
- How schools will open and in what formats. Hybrid statistically shown to be safer for older kids
- Masks with one-way valves protect you from others, but not others from you (and should be covered if used).
Yours in Good Health,
The Signature Healthcare Team