Quarantine

It’s two months since South Africa had its first case and we now have 8 000 confirmed cases despite the lockdown. What’s the exponential implication of this in two months’ time … 10 million?

Knowledge of Covid-19:


Our doctors are still learning how to treat the disease and are sifting through many proposed cures to exclude what’s quackery and apply what’s known to help.

The Northern Suburbs:


My practice has a population of over 20 000 current patients and we have not seen a new patient in six weeks: a testament to how we have applied the lockdown rules and the efficacy of the lockdown.
The three week compulsory holiday has turned into a sober drudge and the novelty has worn off.

Hospitals:


The private hospitals are empty and are not taking any cases for elective procedures in anticipation of overwhelming admissions.

Now is the time to get it! We have not entered winter yet and everything will be stacked against us from July onwards should you become sick. We are all going to get it anyway and all need to get it in order to return to normality. You do not want to contract it if you are over 70, have diabetes, high blood pressure and are obese.

Other approaches:


Countries like Australia and New Zealand are islands, whose approach has been to identify and isolate all contacts, thereby eradicating the disease from their countries. This will allow them to return to business and life as normal as long as their borders remain closed. When the vaccine arrives, there will be a compulsory mass vaccination program and they can then re-enter the real world: a good strategy for an island. This strategy involves nobody getting infected at all, with no subsequent deaths, but relies on the hope of a good vaccine in the future. It will mean the earliest return to domestic normal business.

Sweden has a disciplined population that is faring well. Remember that people need to become sick at a paced rate in order to become immune without vaccine intervention so some people need to get sick, a good strategy for a country going into summer.

South Africa:


None of the above can apply to our porous borders and with the difficulty of social-distancing in the informal settlements.
This is a threat to our aged. Our populations’ average age is 27 years. This means that we should confidently stop the lockdown when we understand the implications of our unique population, with HIV patients both on and off treatment, as well as unusual factors such as our mass TB inoculation.
This will still take time to understand whilst our infected population numbers are low, so don’t expect much relief soon.

My practice:


Despite the epidemic, most people seem pretty well educated on what to expect and some who are frustrated with the social inconveniences are expressing a desire to ‘get it over and done with’. Probably a good idea…
The most affected are very anxious regarding fake news and doomsayers predicting destruction all around.

Loneliness is an insidious illness:


I think we all need to take cognisance of the lonely out there, for loneliness is an insidious illness and I ask you to please reach out to those who you know have borne out this past 6 weeks alone.

Dr Mark Holliday. 8 May



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