As we socially distance, quarantine and pass the days, we are akin to a spectator at a play where the first scene has set up an anticipated horrific event, and we await for part two. Some areas of the country are further ahead in this theater than most of us. The national experts are discerning the best acute treatments. At the same time, we await an improved PCR test to identify COVID 19 presence reliably, and ultimately have a national program for best use of antibody testing to verify immunity. Once our leaders get this system in place, the "immunity passport" will allow citizens to restart the economy, work the front lines and help us move through the second and third “act” of this event.
An adept trauma or emergency physician is trained to assess the vitals first. The apparent injury is next and then systematically goes through all the organ systems to make sure there isn't a more subtle process that may emerge later. In this crisis, the hidden dangerous event is our collective mental health. Social isolation is a risk predictor for shortened longevity, similar to smoking 3 packs per day. Social isolation is ubiquitous now, and I have read that tobacco and alcohol sales have skyrocketed as well (triple threat). Our most concerning threat may not be the virus but the stealth by-products and aftermath.
Laurence Gonzales wrote the book "Deep Survival", which chronicles many survival events such as airplane wrecks, boat accidents, and wilderness mishaps. He identified key factors that predicted survival versus death in these vignettes. The most characteristic feature was whether an individual rose to aid someone frail or a child during the event. This act apparently enabled the person to get out of victim mode, rise above themselves to the service of someone in need. I think that is our calling now.
In your daily check-off list or what Mark Devine of Sealift calls, "daily dirt dive" include the critical personal maintenance of exercise, mental health needs, and work, and such. Add daily "reach out" items to the list such as calling or video conferencing with those at risk who live alone, elderly, frail, or whoever your intuition (that is not random but rather a telepathic nudge) suggest. The greatest generation carried us through the hardships of WW II; now is our time to step up and shine, and take care of each other, and emerge at the other end of this theater not with a tragedy but with a new beginning and enhanced community. A fitting pursuit in this season of rebirth.
Remember your personal maintenance, essential viral supplements, and commit to be your own best doctor for yourself and extend that care to others. Hope you had a Happy Easter!
Stay Strong and Humble,
Disclaimer: This information is not meant as direct medical advice. Readers should always review options with their local medical team. This is the sole opinion of Dr. Meakin based on a literature review at the time of the blog and may change as new evidence evolves.