Infectious Disease

Three Easy Steps To Repair Our COVID-19 Error

January 26, 2021

2 min read

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Approximately 419,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 – more people died than during World War II.

More than 100,000 Americans have died in the pandemic in the past 5 weeks. Amazingly, someone in the US dies from the novel coronavirus every 26 seconds.

Respirators

Source: Adobe Stock.

Nobody was ready for the excessive deaths attributable to this pandemic, which kills more Americans each week than any other disease, including heart disease or cancer.

It didn’t have to be like that.

There are three simple, inexpensive rules: wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose, wash your hands for 20 seconds, and maintain social distance (a miserable 6 feet or more).

For some reason, many people felt they didn’t need to follow these rules.

Nicholas J. Petrelli, MD, FACS

Nicolas J. Petrelli

Some probably felt immune. Young people partied on the beaches in Florida last summer and fall. Unfortunately, some have paid the final price. It is a tragedy in the truest sense of the word, because much of what happened could have been prevented.

While COVID-19 cases are not expected to decline until vaccination efforts increase, there is another virus that poses a threat: influenza.

The flu season in the United States runs from October to May.

As of December 30, flu activity remained lower than usual for the 2020-2021 season, according to the CDC.

This is more than likely due to the three simple steps people have taken from October until now to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Imagine what the COVID-19 death rate would be if people followed these steps after the first outbreak in early 2020.

There’s a lesson here. Even if the coronavirus and its mutations go away, these three simple steps should be followed in any future flu season. Imagine the decline in ED visits and hospital stays in the years to come if these steps were followed along with flu shots every October through May. These steps are especially important for those who do not advocate vaccination.

As we entered 2021, a lot of my colleagues said they would like to forget about 2020. I disagree. It’s a year we shouldn’t forget. There is a lesson to be learned.

The good news is that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the country. Even after people get the vaccine, it is imperative that they keep following the three simple steps and not make the same mistake again.

All surgeons know that despite their intensive training, they will make mistakes during their careers. In this case, a good quality, confident surgeon will recognize the mistake, learn from it and know how to fix it.

We made a mistake with COVID-19 by not following three simple steps. We understand the consequences – the suffering of countless families who have lost loved ones.

Even though we made a mistake, we know how to fix it in three simple steps. Let’s do it for everyone.

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