March 9, 2020

Monday, I am well rested after a weekend of rest and forest bathing, but can see that things are shifting into a different gear. So far, our clinic has done more than 40 tests for COVID 19 and all are negative. Lots of positive flu tests though. What is clear, and confirmed with reports from the health department, is that we are in the thick of winter time flu and cold season, as they say “lots of circulating viruses”. Gotta love that term. Have I mentioned yet how helpful getting a flu vaccine is? It could actually still be useful now, we still have some left in our clinic. Consider getting one now- it could help. And next year, get your flu shot. That being said, the flu and other viruses are present, and consequently increasing symptomatic patients anxiety, because the initial symptoms are so similar to the coronavirus. But still here in Seattle, you are more likely to have the flu than Covid 19. The difference is that we all have a little immunity to flu from over the years, even though it mutates yearly to get past the immunity. The coronavirus is new and no one is immune and seems particularly harsh the older you get, especially in smokers and some former smokers.

Testing is slowly becoming more accessible and that will mean we will start to see more positives, so don’t be surprised. Most people will do fine but those with risk factors may not, so try to avoid exposure is a good thing.

I am learning more about transmission and it is helpful, because I hope I can explain how to keep safe. The good thing is we don’t think it is as easily transmitted by asymptomatic people as we first thought. Partly because the virus is transmitted in respiratory droplets, by coughing or sneezing, or by close household contact. An asymptomatic person does not have much virus in their saliva yet, unless they were to sneeze or cough on you or talk in your face. Hence the advice to stay 3 feet away- the droplets will fall to the ground and not on you. And then you wash your hands and don’t touch your face to avoid infection. That is also why if you get infected, wearing a mask can prevent you giving it to others.

Yesterday, I talked about flattening the curve and I still have hope we can do that. But we all need to be a part of that by limiting our exposure and washing our hands. No one wants to be a vector. My concern today is sustainability. Mostly, helping people continuing efforts to decrease infection and spread. But also sustaining the health care force for the long haul. I might talk more about that tomorrow. Self care is necessary.