There is a great deal of anxiety and fear concerning the COVID-19 outbreak and rightfully so. This email is coming from the heart of Atlantis Medical Center. As a team we are not only aware of your concerns and the concerns of the general public, but we also know how much you are counting on us to do what is right to minimize the spread of this virus. The most important job we have is to educate. And in fact, the word “Doctor” is derived from the Latin word docere, meaning “to teach.” This is what Atlantis and I, Dr. Ben Gonzalez do best: Educate.
There is so much information out there much of it causes more confusion and anxiety than it does help. These are things we want you to know and understand, we are not pulling any punches with this information:
- The COVID-19 virus is new, highly contagious and very dangerous. Yes, we know that sounds scary because it is. This is not a movie (though it feels like it sometimes). Take this seriously. Remember, four months ago not a single human on this planet was exposed to this virus. New information will be coming in and changing daily.
- Social Distancing and self-quarantine are very powerful tools that will help slow down and stop the spread of the virus. Please look at my short video concerning social distancing. It is estimated that over half the world will get infected. Yes, half the world. Know this. Understand this. Keep this thought in your head as you go about your life.
- The best way to think about how to manage life right now is to pretend you are infected. Do the things that you need to do to protect those around you. Stay home. Wash your hands often. Clean surface areas of your home daily. If new people come and go in your daily life, ensure they are protecting themselves and you. ALWAYS. If you do this, you will minimize the spread of this virus and you will save lives.
- Most people who will get infected will have minor symptoms. If you get infected, you become a high producing virus-making factory. And though you may do well, the elderly person you infect, the child with asthma you infect, the immune compromised person you infect will die. This is a fact. So yes, gyms, restaurants, and bars need to be closed.
- Hospitals and health care workers will be overwhelmed. Recall what has happened with the toilet paper on grocery shelves when everyone bought at once? Imagine everyone getting sick at once. Hospital beds, health care workers, labs, ventilators, masks, gloves, etc. will all be scarce. Doctors will then have to make even more difficult decisions no one should ever make.
- Understand that the real experts do not have all the answers. Allow change in information to occur at the expert level. We are doing our best to keep you the individual, and you the general public safe. The numbers of infected and deaths are underreported. We know this. We also know if you practice social distancing and be “hyper” on personal hygiene, it will not stop the virus, but it will slow it down and minimize the total infected and SAVE LIVES.
- Finally, though we cannot control what happens, we can control how we respond!Use this crisis to grow, do something productive and new, connect and reconnect with family and friends. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Call, Facetime, write letters. When was the last time you handwrote a letter?
I will be doing short COVID-19 related videos and blogs each week and even daily if possible. Join me on Instagram @bengonzalez_md and @AtlantisMedCenter, our Atlantis Facebook page, and keep informed through our emails. I will also be participating as medical expert on radio and TV. We will inform you through our social media and email communications as they come up. Be careful of scams and “overexposure” of information. A great source to follow and help sort out rumors and misinformation is coronavirus.gov.
Please do your part. I will do my best to do mine. Do not panic or let fear set in. Be the “Calm” for those around you. Maximize your health now. Minimize your medical issues later.