June 5, 2020 Covid19 update
First off, some updates on clinic hours. Even though the number of reported cases continues to climb here in Arizona, we have restarted scheduling patients for routine follow-ups and physicals. We are restrained by the desire to not have more than one patient in the office at a time, so we are running at only 2/3 of our normal capacity. We are seeing patients every day except Wednesday. Once again, if you need anything please call the office, or if after hours, call me on my cell phone.
In my last message, I mentioned there was data indicating that ACE inhibitors (a blood pressure medication) may be protective against a more serious COVID infection. Unfortunately, that data may have been falsified, and the New England Journal of Medicine has now retracted the study.
This event highlights a major problem with COVID-19, which is that some of the studies being reported (even in well-respected sources) can be incomplete or even not trustworthy. In addition, there is a lot of pseudoscience going on, especially on the internet. Pseudoscience is the practice of presenting something as scientifically based when in fact it is not. What this all means is we need to remain scientifically skeptical about what we hear regarding COVID-19.
Realize though, there is good science going on, and the challenge is to piece all the disparate pieces of data together into a more complete picture. For instance, just this morning there was a study publicized which suggests that people with Blood Type A may be at a higher risk of a more serious infection. I consider this data to be preliminary, with much more study needed to see if this association is real, or just a phenomenon of what was initially analyzed. Such studies are not completed quickly, so the answer to this question will take months if not longer.
This past week has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases in Arizona, and to a lesser extent in Pima County. We are now averaging almost 1,000 new cases a day in the state. While some of this increase is due to a larger number of tests being performed, we are seeing increased hospitalizations for COVID 19 as well. It remains unclear right now if any of these increases are due to the reopening of businesses and other facilities. Regardless, the virus remains very prevalent in our community, and wearing a mask and staying 6 plus feet away from others will help reduce spread. I still recommend that people do not get their hair cut or dine in restaurants.
Finally, please continue to remember that this virus is very contagious, and remaining vigilant about protecting yourself from it remains paramount. Take care.