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Listen To Medical Experts


Last updated 5/18/2020 at 1:32pm

If you want to know if a mysterious spot is skin cancer, you visit a dermatologist. If your vision is becoming a little blurry, you see an optometrist or ophthalmologist. If you have heart problems, you visit a cardiologist. And if you want to slow the spread of a pandemic and save people’s lives, you listen to epidemiologists and virologists who have spent decades studying these matters. All of these professionals deal in responding to natural, apolitical problems.

For some bizarre reason, however, a significant minority of Americans are foregoing this everyday, common sense advice and listening to politicians about how best to handle this pandemic.

Last Friday President Trump said, “If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases … It could be the testing’s, frankly, overrated? Maybe it is overrated.”

His statement is nonsensical and hypocritical. Tests do not make viruses or diseases disappear. If we did not examine people for skin cancer, there would not be fewer cases of skin cancer; there would be more. We go for regular checkups to doctors and dentists so that they can, hopefully, catch any disease in its earlier stages so that treatment will be more effective and less costly.

His statement is also hypocritical. Since several members of the White House recently have tested positive for COVID-19, tests are being done more frequently, not less, on White House staff. To the contrary, testing is imperative. Not only does it help identify COVID-19 patients so that they can be treated accordingly, but it also slows the spread of the disease. South Korea, which diagnosed its first COVID-19 case one day before the United States confirmed its first case, immediately employed extensive testing and contact tracing. By Feb. 21, South Korea had conducted 16,400 diagnostic tests, which was 10 times more than the U.S had conducted by that same day. According to ABC News, as of Thursday, April 30, South Korea had 10,765 COVID-19 deaths while the U.S. had roughly six times more – 63,019 deaths.

Not only should we be testing more people, but we should be testing them multiple times. A person could be clear of the virus one day but contract it the next. Although viruses have an impact much quicker than most diseases, the concept is similar to the reason dentists and dermatologists, for example, exhort people to get a checkup every six months; dermatologists recommend their patients come back even sooner if they see a spot on their skin that is “peculiar” or “changing color or shape.”

Dr. Robert Gallo, the virologist who co-discovered HIV, told Courthouse News that people should not only be tested for the virus, but also its antigens, and they should be tested multiple times. Virologists and epidemiologists worldwide agree that testing is crucial to controlling the virus.

Unfortunately, many politicians and some judges have ignored the overwhelming advice of virologists and epidemiologists in loosening restrictions across the country. This not only increases the chance of a resurgence of the virus, but it also endangers the economy. The current economic crisis is primarily the result of the public health crisis. If we don’t resolve the public health crisis, we will not solve the economic crisis.

Scott Pelley of CBS News asked Jerome Powell, head of Federal Reserve: “What metrics are you looking at here hour by hour, day to day, to divine what the future is going to be?”

Jerome Powell, a Republican appointed by President Trump, responded, “The thing that matters more than anything else is the medical metrics, frankly. It’s the spread of the virus.”

Controlling this pandemic and loosening social restrictions are analogous to determining when an injured athlete should be allowed to return to the playing field. Some athletes respond faster than others due to severity of injury as well as their natural tendency to heal. But in all cases, if an athlete is rushed back to play before the injury has completely healed, the greater likelihood that athlete will aggravate that injury and be unable to play an even longer period of time, if at all. That is why good coaches always defer to their team trainers or doctors to determine if an athlete is ready for action.

As individuals, we too should defer to the medical professionals, not the politicians, in responding COVID-19.


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