Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I celebrated New Year’s Day be getting my first dose of the vaccine.  I recently listened to a podcast with an infectious disease expert. One question posed to him was which is the best vaccine? The answer? The one that is available to you.  Great answer.

We are all thrilled that 2020 is behind us and look forward to a fresh start with 2021. Even with the arrival of 2 COVID vaccines, it is going to take months before we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, even then, the new normal is very likely to be significant different from the old normal.  The Finger Lakes region continues to see record numbers of new cases every day. And this is before we see the effects of Christmas and New Years get togethers.

We need to be more careful than ever. Please stay home. Wear a mask and keep your distance.


Please Stay Calm But Much More Careful

We all see the rising numbers of daily new cases, but on an individual note think we are all doing well, limiting contacts to “close” circles.  In our practice, I have seen a huge jump in the numbers of positive tests. In September, it took me ordering 98 tests before seeing my first positive case. Now,  I see 1-2 positive tests daily. Luckily, it has all been relatively minor illness, but that is not a guarantee.

I just saw a simulation run by students at MIT. They “put” 10 people in a 20 x 20 foot room. If all 10 were unmasked (eating a meal at a table), 1 positive person would transmit the virus to another person in 18 minutes. If everyone wore a cloth mask, it adds 6 minutes to that time. If a window was open, it adds 10 minutes. If everyone wore a “surgical procedure” mask, it adds 2 hours.  Think about it… masks do make a difference.

The promise of effective vaccines and eventual “herd” immunity is good news, but it is going to take months before we achieve that goal. We all look forward to saying goodbye to 2020 with great expectations for 2021 to be much better, but it is not going to be an overnight change.

Please be smart, stay home, if you go out, wear masks and stay distanced from others.  We will get through this.

Happy Holidays!

As 2020 (good riddance to a really difficult year) comes to a close, we are all looking forward to a better 2021. But let me add that there have been many wonderful and happy events in 2020, like the births of babies, (our new grandson included), weddings and other life cycle celebrations, and graduations to name a few. We have certainly learned to celebrate them in ways like never before, but nonetheless very special. Many of us have also experienced the loss of a loved one or friend during the past year and had to deal with it in a wholly different manner.

We “flattened the curve” earlier in the year, only to see COVID-19 return to our area more ferociously in a new wave, setting daily records for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The approval of two effective and safe vaccines promises to finally provide us with weapons to fight the spread of COVID-19. But it is not an overnight remedy; it is going to take many more months and a herculean effort to put COVID-19 behind us, much like polio and smallpox in the past.

Now, more than ever, we have to stay smart and continue to avoid contacts.  I receive numerous calls, emails, or pingMD encounters daily asking for testing because someone in a family has been in contact with someone who tested positive. These are most commonly from the “small” gatherings that the governor and Dr. Mendoza have been warning us about, or youth sports.  We all think we are very careful and this couldn’t happen to us, but, guess what? Everyone thinks the same way and this is where the spread comes from. I have several families in which one family member met with a “few” friends, only to be exposed and infected by COVID-19, and, ultimately, transmitted it to everyone in the household. THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF!

We are tired of isolation and not being able to celebrate holidays and life events with our families and friends. We are tired of wearing masks. I am tired of wearing PPE most of the day and shoving swabs up patients’ noses because of exposures. I thought we had proven that we could knock this virus down and that we would be able to resume our lives this fall and winter. I was wrong.

Friends who are professors at RIT shared this graphic about the efficacy of wearing masks.  Even the Dr. Mendoza stresses the fact that if both people involved in an exposure wear masks, it can significantly decrease the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to the point where it is not considered a “contact.”

But, if you or a family member is exposed, you must quarantine for 14 days from the last date of exposure. (There are many variations on this theme, so I won’t go into the specifics here.) An exposed person does not need a test for the virus unless they develop symptoms. A negative test does not shorten the length of quarantine. Nor does it guarantee that you will not develop the infection during the at-risk period.

The best way to avoid all these scenarios is to stay away from gatherings and always wear a mask outside of your home.  The best gift you can give your loved ones and friends this holiday season is the gift of good health. Thank goodness for technology.  It is not the same as being with people in person, but Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Team or what other platform you use, will allow you to safely be loved ones without risking your and their health.

PLEASE… Stay Calm, Stay Home and Stay Masked so that we can all once again get together in the coming year.

From all of us at Lewis Pediatrics, myself, Bess, Betsy, Jean, Margie, Rebecca, and Harper, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season as well as a wonderful 2021 in which we can all see a return to a new and better “normal.”

Do Good December 8th.

Today’s Do Good Thought

Do something helpful for a family member or friend.

Given the increased numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the Finger Lakes region (the highest in NY right now), I think wearing a mask and avoiding crowds would be a good idea.

Stay safe.

Do Good December 7th

Please take a moment to remember Pearl Harbor and all the Americans who were killed on that day.

The number of  positive cases of COVID-19 tests continue to rise as do the the hospitalizations. A vaccine is on the horizon but there is still much to learn about it, including how long the immunity will last. But, even with the vaccine, it is very likely that it will not be available for the general population until this spring. We are still waiting on word for when it will be available for children and adolescents. Stay Tuned.

And, to continue the Do Good theme.

Leave a positive message for someone to find.

Do Good December

My daughter forwarded a link to the “Do Good December” calendar from Action For Happiness. I hope to bring you each day’s “task” to help get us all through the unfamiliar feelings of the 2020 holiday season.

For December 4th, “Give kind comments to as many people as possible today.”

Here We Go Again

In the words of one of my favorite baseball players, Yogi Berra, “this is deja vu all over again.” I really hoped that with the start of school, we would not see a rise in cases of COVID-19. The numbers support the fact that schools are not the source of the increased cases, but they have been targeted for screenings because they have a captive population. It doesn’t look like salons or gyms are the major source either. The cases and concerns I have seen have been related to gatherings, just like Governor Cuomo has pointed out, and youth sports.

As difficult as it is going to be as the days get colder and shorter, we are going to have to stay socially isolated and responsible.