With specialties in pulmonary medicine and critical care, Dr. Mike Hansen has been dispelling misinformation and encouraging compliance with CDC guidelines throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In his most recent YouTube video, Hansen breaks down seven key insights into the current COVID-19 situation which he believes are important to keep in mind during the election.
We’re going to see a surge in cases
“This pandemic is only going to get worse over the two to three months, and more and more hospitals are going to be overwhelmed,” says Hansen. “The difference between what’s happening now and what happened in previous spike cases is that the entire country is now a hot spot. And because it’s so widespread, we’ll soon reach a breaking point in our hospitals and our number of healthcare workers.”
This will inevitably have a knock-on effect on other parts of society. “It’s not just the economy that suffers, it’s also the rest of healthcare in general that suffers,” says Hansen, pointing out the increased rates of depression and suicide during the pandemic, and the limited ability of an overloaded healthcare system to deal with non-COVID-related illnesses.
We need stricter pandemic control
“It’s not like we don’t know how to get this pandemic under control,” he says. “It can be done; just look at how well other countries handled it, and how well they’re doing, and how well their economies are doing.” He cites the example of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and China, all of which implemented testing, contact tracing, quarantine measures, social distancing.
Hansen predicts one of three outcomes. There will be a federal mask mandate to enforce the wearing of face coverings, there will be a mass shutdown, or, in the absence of either of these scenarios, there will be millions of deaths.
Doctors are not inflating the numbers
President Trump claimed at a recent rally that doctors get paid more if a COVID patient dies. This is simply not true, says Hansen. Nor is the assertion that the official figures of COVID cases and deaths have been exaggerated or inflated in any way. Hansen explains that in instances where COVID patients had secondary contributory factors, such as a bacterial infection, the root cause of death is still COVID, and is listed as such.
It’s unlikely you can get COVID twice
Hansen refers to a study into neutralizing antibodies, in which the vast majority of people who had mild to moderate cases of COVID had high levels of antibody response to the virus for at least five months. “So, can you get infected with COVID-19 twice? Based on this, probably not,” he says. “If it does occur, it’s the exception, not the rule.”
A vaccine might not be widely available until this time next year
“It’s likely that a vaccine will provide immunity, but for how long remains another question,” says Hansen. He adds that when a vaccine does become available, probably in early 2021, it will be accessed first by healthcare workers and the most vulnerable members of the population, and may not be available to the general public until much later in the year.
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Aspirin has been linked with better outcomes in COVID patients
Hansen mentions a study which found that patients who regularly took a baby aspirin were more likely to show positive outcomes when hospitalized with COVID. However, he doesn’t recommend that everybody start doing this until more research has been carried out to prove that this is a safe and effective deterrent.
There are two treatments on the way
Of the 70+ monoclonal treatments currently being tested, two show real promise, from Eli Lilly and Regeneron (the latter of which was recently used to treat President Trump). Both companies have applied for FDA emergency use authorizations. The phase-2 trial of Eli Lilly’s treatment, Bamlanivimab, appears to decrease the risk of hospitilization and ease some symptoms. Meanwhile, the results of tests of Regeneron’s treatment, REGN-COV2, which the company claims reduces viral load, have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.
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