Dear Friends and Patients,
Like many of you, I usually dismiss the mainstream media's sensationalism of medical news. COVID-19 (coronavirus) is not sensationalized medical news.
If you have ever noticed the letters "M.P.H." by my name, they stand for Master's of Public Health (in Epidemiology). On Thursday, March 12, the alarm was effectively sounded by those to whom I have been trained to listen. The information we are all receiving from public health officials at our nation's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) sounds a lot like NASA trying to explain how potatoes grow on Mars.
In the movie, "The Martian," Mark Watney is stuck on Mars with meager rations, including potatoes. His PhD in Botany, equally as nerdy as Epidemiology, finally came in handy. Faced with starvation or learning to grow plants on a dead planet, he said:
So for the first time in twenty years, I get to say COVID-19 will come to fear my epidemiological powers! I have immersed myself in the information coming from CDC and WHO, and I will continue to do so.
I want you to know that I am available to answer any of your concerns about COVID-19, as getting bottom-line answers can be difficult given the complexity of viral epidemiology. Yes, you have your own PERSONAL epidemiologist!
The advice I texted to my daughters is the same advice I would give to you:
So if you are a new patient, I would need to meet in-person unless you have a fever over 100.4, or a cough, or if you have been within six feet of someone who suspects they have been exposed to the virus.
For all other patients, let's meet by phone, Skype, Facetime (or even smoke signals!). In two months, if we look back and feel silly about having been too careful, then we will have nailed it.
Gary M. Bullock, D.O., M.P.H.