I've been helping our KaiNexus CEO Dr. Greg Jacobson prep for the webinar he and two other doctors are participating in on Wednesday March 18:
It's been beyond fascinating to see the questions that people have submitted. I've spent a lot of time going through them and categorizing them... here is what's on people's minds. And maybe that speaks to gaps in effective communication from the government and the healthcare field.
We decided to just copy and paste the questions so you can see what people are asking. Greg and the other doctors, pediatrician Whitney Morgan and internist Mason Mileur won't be able to answer them all necessarily:
Individual Health Questions
I’ve heard a lot of conflicting information, especially online -- where should I go to fact check things related to Covid-19?
Keys differences between Corona and flu? On a scale of 1 (low) to 5, how dangerous is it compared to Ebola?
Please confirm the signs and symptoms when one needs to seek medical advice. How soon from noticing these? If I become infected, how will I know when I need emergent care?
I have asthma and the COVID-19 symptoms are similar, such as shortness of breath, and a dry cough. How can I be certain it’s asthma and not COVID-19? What can I do to be certain it’s asthma only?
What first aid supplies / over the counter medication should we have available, pre-infection?
What is the latest guidance with people on NSAID in relation to Covid-19? Are there certain medications that I should avoid? Talk to your doctor.
What is your thought on a vaccine and if and when there is one, do you think it will be sufficient supply? I’ve heard we are 6-12 months from a vaccine, does that seem correct? What can be done to improve your immune system? Sleep, Decrease Sugar, Decrease Alcohol
Do you get immunity from having COVID 19? Can you test a person to see if they have immunity?
What kind of treatments are available to those are infected? Supportive Care? Anti-malarial? -- THERE IS HOPE
Protecting Ourselves & Others
Start off with general Physical Distancing & Flattening the Curve - emphasize what this means in the grocery store
Can my nanny, maid, tutor, or other in-home worker still come? - No - elective and Yes for non-elective (controlled)
Are play dates OK for kids off school? Is it safer for them to play outdoors?
Many cities have allowed restaurants to go to take out/delivery only. Is it safe to get take out or delivery? - No
How long does the virus “survive” on surfaces such as counter-tops, clothing, steering wheels, door handles, stairwells, etc? How long can the virus live on non-porous outdoor surfaces, like playground equipment?
Anything specific I should do to sanitize mail, packages, or deliveries?
Can this be transmitted by ingesting it - like on prepared food? How should we be handling groceries that we bring home? Do we need to disinfect food containers, etc.? Does cooking kill the virus? What about freezing?
"Is restaurant take out safe for people on immunosuppressants?"
I'm instituting standard practice at home of immediately discarding into dirty laundry outer clothing that was worn to work or an outing that came into contact with public surfaces or was exposed to people in order to fully shower (or at least scrub exposed areas of skin) and change into clean clothes to prevent potential spread of virus onto furniture or hugging loved ones. Am I on the right track or over-reacting??
Many of our seniors are playing pickleball on outdoor courts. During the game, social distancing recommendations are being followed. But after the game, there is socializing in groups of multiple people. How should recreation centers handle this?
Would it help to wear a mask when running necessity errands? Given the mask shortage, are any type of masks better than none? How do we protect family members that are elderly? How do we know that we are not carriers and infecting them? What else can we all do to minimize spread aside from self-imposed quarantines?
As a state employee, now working from home I'm wondering if the incubation period is beyond the one-week furlough that we have and how can we protect ourselves once back in the government building?
What measures are being made to ensure the security and safety of inmates in prisons? I understand that they are not apart of the general public we typically care about and social distancing is part of the sentence they have, but with the flow of new inmates on a daily basis and most of those inmates are coming from poor access to health care and disjointed connection to a positive relationship to the social determinants of health, they will still get sick and I fear their human rights won't be respected. Thank you
Population Health Questions
I live in central Iowa. People are saying that we will run out of hospital beds and our ER doctors will likely have to start choosing who lives and who dies. Do you think this is going to happen with all the precautions that we as a country have taken to this point? Is it too late at this point to affect the curve?
How do we know the numbers are accurate if people are not being tested? How much time do we have before we end up like Italy?
Based on historical data indicating an influx in pneumonia and influenza, or what we thought were pneumonia and influenza, is it thought the Coronavirus was circulating before testing began?
Trajectory to normal - what's the best case / worse case?
Based on current predictive models they say the numbers will likely triple by next week. Do you see the same with all of the isolation/social distancing occurring? Is that not going to help "flatten" the curve?
Doesn’t “flattening the curve” just drag things out longer? Does it really reduce the number of people who get sick and die or will it just be spread out over time? More might survive if we don’t overburden hospitals and exceed the number of ventilators?
Will we need to be quarantined for 8 weeks?
What I don’t understand is how you prevent the virus from spiking again once you restart your economy and people are interacting again. Looking at the data, it looks like China and South Korea completely arrested the virus, but I can’t believe they actually eliminated the virus from their society. Without a vaccine, I don’t get it. What am I missing?
What indicators or process metrics will scientists and medical leaders be looking at to determine when and if we have been successful in flattening the curve?
I understand limiting exposure, and social distancing, but how will the decision makers know when it is safe to resume normal life?
I’ll be interested in what the MDs have to say, also about countries like Singapore that has been able to maintain a relatively low infection rate.
In our state we are seeing about a 7% positive rate on testing. What are other states seeing?
Will the PCR testing that is currently being conducted show past exposure or just active infections?
Healthcare Personal Protective Equipment
Are loop masks sufficient to protect patient-facing staff in non-clinical situations like housekeeping, billing, registration, etc. or are N95’s required at all times? Thank you.
What creative ways have people found to deal with mask shortages?
How safe it is for an employee to reuse the N95 for an positive COVID-19 patient?
What should and are other hospitals doing to prepare for this? When do we anticipate this will be over? What are the hospitals on the east and west coast saying right now for instance in Washington or New York. Are they full and out of beds? Are they out of ventilators? Are they calling in retired staff to help?
What are the current financial impacts of medical and healthcare systems? How are you handling a shortage of medical supplies and equipment?
I'm a diabetes educator. Our department has not been told to stop seeing or scheduling patients. Some are canceling but some are still coming to their appointments. Most patients are over 60 years old and these are non-urgent appointments. Shouldn't we be canceling all our appointments?
One of the issues we face is tracking rapid changes in protocols and guidelines as the landscape of the crisis changes. Have you seen any good ways to make these protocols and guidelines readily view-able/available and easily updated?
Describe easing regulations in HIPAA security.
How do we practice/improve compassionate communication amidst this evolving situation? Practice of genuine patient care while staying safe
Business & Economic Impact
How are other manufacturing firms handling the pandemic in light of the fact that employees can't work from home?
What about the economic impact of shutting everything down? What can people, landlords, governments do to help out?