August 17, 2020
Below is an email to me from Tom Sloan, M.D. He gave me permission to send it out. He is a Board-Certified Internist in private practice in the Woodlands. He has treated many Covid cases as have many, many of his colleges in the Houston area as well as the border. So this is what a very good, experienced, active doctor thinks we need to do about Covid.
Jim, I am concerned you are reading a lot and there are agendas of money or politics that are stealing you from “the way it is”. I have nothing at stake and promise you, I get it. Please use some of your reading time on a few lines below that use what we have available today. We need to declare TOTAL public health and economic victory and stop the infighting and loser pessimism.
1) Nothing but six feet and a mask will deliver America till the vaccine has actually done it, and we cannot be sure when/if that will be; so, six feet, best available mask. Everyone quit talking about therapeutics, though we will all delight in any bonus they might deliver when and if they are developed, tested, and available.
2) With six feet and a mask, virtually everything can be successfully opened — with NO chance that we will overwhelm healthcare and no chance widespread economic problems come. No is a BIG word so it is important to understand it means no — none, nada, zilch, zero.
3) Stick with PCR test, even with its shortcomings, because essentially 100% specificity is worth it, and TIME IS NOT A PROBLEM except that anything that can speed up PCR is fine.
4) Now, stop checking temperatures or thinking you need a zillion or fast tests as this is now cruelly untrue. Right now, an ideal world is a “six feet and a mask world”, and only two people get infected: those who asked for it — and the VERY rare, very unlucky. In both cases, they will be going forth, trying to spread their version of “ Gospel of the Virus” only to encounter hard-hearted, six feet and maskers, making a public health problem impossible — Jim, the Bug is defeated, right this second, today, using these simple guidelines, SIX FEET AND A MASK.
5) When school opens, kids who do not mask are suspended back to home learning. You will get few Covid cases due to bad luck or to breaking the rules — I do not know or care which because the school administration should say: “Stay home if you’re sick, but the school will still be open tomorrow; stay home and learn there if you are nervous over a few cases. We do not quarantine nor cancel because six feet and a mask works. We do not contact trace because there are no contacts here.”
6) Of course, every case is a little different, but when a person has Covid symptoms, quarantine them for10 days and their contacts for 14 days. Get a test, but if it’s negative and the patient is still sick, you may have to consider continuing the quarantine since false negatives do happen and, candidly they are not supposed to have many contacts anyway. So, again, there won’t be a giant public health issue of excess quarantine.
7) With this, schools and restaurants can open to small numbers of cases that do not spread much, as probably can bars and churches, and even airplanes — as long as all understand that there may be Covid cases BUT not a public health or disastrous economic problem.
8) I think team sports best illustrate there are limitations, and I think viral cases will likely be so widespread that you do have to cancel events and such. There’s no doubt there are selected other activities such as political conventions that just will not work, but you (we) can live with that type of cancellation because, again, it will be neither a public health nor an economic issue and not a situation that requires giant numbers nor speed in testing.
9) Jim, with all the confusion, there are no “experts” who can bring science to the breach in regards even to a single point made here. Let’s claim all the life back that we can until the vaccine delivers the herd. It will not require innovations in testing, closures, excess hospitalizations, new therapeutics and the like. It it is right here, right now: SIX FEET AND A MASK.
(J. Harris: I don’t disagree with anything Dr. Sloan said. However, as a Three Time Loser (old, fat, hypertensive) I would add that I also avoid crowds (or even small groups including family) — especially indoors. Locally, I have been pleased and reassured to see most people wearing masks when out. Hopefully, all the bulletproof youngsters will do the same).
I’ll save the convention story for tomorrow.
I’m not a paranoid, deranged millionaire. Dammit! I’m a billionaire.
~ Howard Hughes
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