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COVID Crisis Post 10: Scary AND Fascinating.

Staff around the city and state are being rotated at many, if not all, hospitals so staff are able to stay fresh and reduce the number of people exposed to COVID-19 at any given time. But honestly, some of us who are low-risk are kinda hoping we've already been exposed.

And the reason for this is the development of potential immunity.

We know a vaccine is still a ways away. Many are scared to come to work. But many of us would feel RELATIVELY more comfortable entering the hospital if we knew at least had a chance to be immune.

At the moment, widespread testing tells us if we have the disease or not. But it doesn't tell us if we've HAD the disease and now have cleared it.

But a new test developed at Mt. Sinai may just change that.

The test looks for antibodies in the blood that are specific for COVID-19. The thought is if you have high antibody titers, then you should have potential immunity for at least 6 months. Key word "SHOULD" - there is no way to know how long the antibodies last, whether the virus mutates, amongst many other things. And there have been a few reports of people getting infected with COVID-19 more than once. So take everything, with this disease especially, with a grain of salt.

BUT there likely is at least some immunity we would gain if this were to be true. This test should initially be used on high-risk personnel, such as healthcare workers, so we can further risk-stratify groups. And I'm hoping this comes to fruition sooner rather than later. For our sakes and yours.

Another thought: one thing I believe is being put on the back burner in the news and is going to be a huge deal in the not-so-distant future:

Drug shortages.

One big reason: we are EATING through certain drugs that are being utilized to sedate and treat our most critically-ill COVID-19 patients. We did not expect the volume and needs for sedation in such a short period of time. This is, and will continue to be, a problem. And other drugs may become in shortage as our needs change. And believe me, they will.

General lay person comparison: "critical" items such as toilet paper, sanitizer, and "screw the people who need it" hydroxychloroquine 🙄🤦🏽‍♂️.

Another reason: disruption of supply chains. India and China supply many generic drugs and ingredients, respectively, within the pharmaceutical industry, and there are serious questions about how this pandemic could affect delivery and production of drugs around the world.

A messed up issue is drug companies do not have an obligation to disclose reasons for drug shortages. All they need to do is notify the FDA that there is a drug shortage. That's it. So you may not know about one until you try to refill your prescription, like when I tried to refill my mesalamine, but these are the times we live in. Que sera sera.

And finally, irrespective of all of this, as a clinician, this disease is as fascinating as it is scary.

I've posted at length about the symptoms of the disease, but our knowledge of the disease keeps growing and changing.

I have a good friend who is finally recovering from COVID-19 after a super prolonged course, and he has been hunkering down at home (like we ALL should be EVEN if you are not sick).

I was speaking to him a few days ago, and he asked me, "so when am I going to be able to smell and taste things again?", and I told him I don't think that's a thing with COVID-19. Well, ummmm... whoops 😅😬:

Loss of smell and taste? Seriously? If I couldn't smell or taste food, especially Mummy's food, I think I'd lose my mind!

Remember: gotta keep things lighthearted during times of stress 🙂. Also: I read about this a few days ago but have had so many other thoughts on my mind that it's taken me a while to post it. So apologies!

There are reports out of China, South Korea, Iran, France, UK, in addition to the US, that many of their COVID-19+ patients had complaints of anosmia (loss of smell), and in young people who tested positive, many had this as their only presenting symptom. I have had friends in the last few days who told me how weird it was that they couldn't smell or taste. And I also heard from a friend that is an ENT I know very well who corroborated this finding.

No fever. No cough.

That's fascinating. And scary.

This just goes to show how this is a learning process for all of us, and we figure out every day how much and how little we know of this disease.

PEOPLE, TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. Just because you don't feel sick doesn't mean you're not infected. Please.

And finally: I'm sorry for the late post. I know Amar thought my post would essentially be ”today I drank 12 beers ...YOLO”, so apologies to disappoint 🤷🏽‍♂️🤣.

Much love and good night.

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