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Are We Overreacting to COVID-19?
Vicki Rackner MD ---  Selling to Doctors Vicki Rackner MD --- Selling to Doctors
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Minneapolis , MN
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Here's the number one question I have been fielding this week: "Are we overreacting to COVID-19?"

My response is this: "Is this the BEST question that positions you to be part of the solution?"

The REAL question on most peoples' minds today is this: "What is the health risk COVID-19 poses to myself, my family and the people around me?"

As of today, March 19th, it appears that simple public health and personal hygiene measures work.  They minimize the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable among us like your aging parents or your friend being treated for breast cancer or your neighbor who has gotten a heart transplant.

If you made a list of the top 10 health threats with the greatest probability of taking your life in the next year, COVID-19 would not even be on the list. As the time of the writing, about 3,400 people in Italy lost their lives to infection from COVID-19. Compare that to the 647,000 Americans who lost their life to heart disease last year or the 47,000 US deaths from suicide.

The measures to "flatten the COVID-19 curve" --shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms, hair salons, etc-- are dramatic. They have know and certain untoward economic consequences.  

Are these aggressive public health measures justified?  

Public health official creating policy to care for entire populations ask different questions than doctors caring for individual patients. The best way to screen an individual patient for cancer, for example, may be different than the best way to screen the entire population.   

Further, we as individuals do things like vaccinate our children and refrain from texting while driving to keep the community safe and healthy.  

The limited data suggests that aggressive public health measure work. Life is returning to normal in China. 

Further, the failure to implement aggressive public health measure will have political, health and economic consequences. 

The truth is that our reality is what it is. We ARE working from home. We're not going to be able to exercise at the gym or get haircuts or relax at a bar for a few weeks.  (I was supposed to get a haircut today, and it was cancelled because the salon is closed. When I asked my hairdresser what I should do about my overdue haircut, she said, "Watch a Youtube video about curtting tor own hair." Yikes!)

Let's refrain from Monday-morning quarterbacking. Instead, let's focus our thoughts and efforts on activities that allow us to become part of the solution. We can all make a positive impact right now.

Creating solutions begins with asking the best questions.

Thank you for your hard work!  Stay healthy and strong.
My best,
Dr. Vicki

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