Stay Calm and Trust the Experts

Last week we passed the 1 month mark of “NY on Pause.” Scientific models predicted  that week to be the “apex” for NY and although we still see about 2000 new cases of COVID-19 per day in NY state, intubations, hospital and ICU admissions are significantly less, but the number of NY deaths remains pretty steady. The trends certainly look like we are seeing a plateau at a lower level that initially anticipated.  Governor Cuomo is cautiously optimistic that the numbers of new cases of COVID-19 are plateauing and the surge that we anticipated may have been “mitigated” by our staying at home and socially distanced.

President Trump planned on the country starting back up by Easter and now seems to be at odds with many governors about reopening businesses and the economy. As much as I, too, would like to get back to normal, just because I want to doesn’t mean it can or should happen.  

I find myself drawn to Governor Cuomo’s daily press conferences. At first it was for the “numbers” and to see the trends so that I could make sense of how significant this pandemic is. But, I also find myself drawn to the Governor’s leadership style. He tells it like it is, he presents the facts as he sees them, not as he wants them to be and he takes responsibility for the decisions he makes. He keeps reminding us that this situation should not be politicized. He has reached out to the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to coordinate efforts to “start back up” rather than trying to go it alone. I am impressed. But this is not about politics, it is about being informed. 

On the other hand, there is a lot of “misinformation” out there. Please be careful of promises and recommendations by people other than those who truly know the science behind their recommendations. 

There is a Facebook group recommending securing facemasks to babies’ pacifiers. There is no basis for this other than conjecture. And, when you weigh the benefits vs the risks, the risks win by a long shot. The risk of suffocation or choking are just too great. Likewise, there has been much conjecture about potential cures like hydrochloriquine and azithromycin. There may be some basis for them working, but they are not benign medications and the side effects can put patients at risks for complications and even death. We need more evidence and there are a number of controlled studies taking place to validate their usefulness. We should not base our choices on what we hope or wish will work but what has been proven to work.

I don’t know how many of you watched the “One World Together at Home” concert last night. It was a moving reminder that we are in this together as a world. We need to move forward together to get through this truly once in a lifetime event. We need our leaders to act in our best interests, not theirs. We need them to make good decisions based on the recommendations of the experts, not based on their perceptions of what should be. 

So, what is my point? Staying home and “socially distanced” is working. We have the numbers. As much as we want to get back to normal, we need to take a “pause” and listen to the experts, follow their recommendations that have some scientific/medical basis behind them and we will get through this.