By Robert Clouse MD
I’m well into my retirement after 30 years in Family Practice at Pine Medical Group in Fremont and I’m hoping that by writing this article I may still have something to offer the community.
The term, ”Evidence Based Medicine”, means that there is ample proof obtained by the results of well- run studies, that certain medical practices are effective at improving outcomes in specific diseases. Good examples of evidence based medicine might be:
-Antibiotics are effective in curing strep throat.
-Chemotherapy is effective in treating childhood lymphoblastic leukemia.
Nobody would likely argue with those examples.
As Covid -19 swirls around us and profoundly disrupts our lives we deeply miss our social interactions and have a sense of anxiety and uncertainty about the future. Yet I am certain of these things.
-This pandemic shall pass.
-When 75% or more of the population of our country is vaccinated for Covid-19, the pandemic will be under control.
_We are in this together and it would be wise for all of us to work for the common good which means that catering to our individual self interests may be harmful to the country as a whole.
There is good medical evidence that some behaviors are effective at reducing the spread of Covid infections. In that regard I’m relatively certain of the following.
There are members of our community who assert that it is their right to not wear a mask indoors in a public space because of inconvenience, discomfort, personal preference. Of them I would ask this question. “Would you have open heart surgery in a hospital which did not require the use of surgical masks by the OR staff during your surgery”?
When I was a boy in 1952, a terrifying polio epidemic swept the nation and 58,000 people contracted the paralytic disease. Of those,3,000 died, many of them children and thousands were paralyzed for life. When Dr. Jonas Salk developed an effective vaccine in 1955, he became a national hero. Due to widespread acceptance of polio vaccination the epidemic quickly came under control and polio has been eradicated in the US since 1979. Vaccines work!
Soon, health care workers and long term care residents will be the first cohorts to be offered the Covid vaccine. When the time comes for your age and risk group will you take the vaccine? Yes, it will be painful. Yes, you may get side effects for a day or two. Will you put aside your individual fears and do what is good for the country? Please get vaccinated!
The generation that fought WW2 is called, “The Greatest Generation”, perhaps in part, because individually they banded together for the good of the country. Millions joined the Armed Forces, either directly fighting or in supportive roles, (somewhat like our health care workers and essential service workers today). Everyone else sacrificed, everyone did their part. We’re in a war now against Covid-19. Our hospitals and health care workers are overwhelmed logistically, physically and emotionally and they need a break. They need our help until the population achieves a critical mass of vaccinations. You can help now to reduce new cases of Covid.
You can stay away from others.
You can wear a mask effectively.
You can get vaccinated.
Will you help now?
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