Into the Unknown

The reason why the right testing is so important so that we all may try to resume a somewhat normal existence, is that the actual life cycle of the virus is still somewhat of a mystery.    Plenty is known about the infectious part, but the beginning and the ending are somewhat sketchy.   Add to that the fact that many are asymptomatic, and you have a quandary of issues.

It has been approximately three months after this contagion has been classified as a pandemic, although it feels like a lifetime.   One remaining issue researchers are desperate to understand is how is it that patients who were deemed to not be infected any more, still test positive?

Other concerns are the additional ailments of those out of the woods.  While approximately eighty percent of all those infected do not require severe medical attention, people who were still have lingering symptoms.   These symptoms are not unlike the flu and it would be unrealistic to think that such a potentially deadly virus would just disappear, and you are all better.   Obviously, you will have lingering abnormalities in your body after being sick.   But why do those who were still register as infected?  Is it that our testing is faulty or is it that you can remain infected and just be over the first part of the symptoms?  Is there another level?

In relation to all those issues, what is most concerning here is how can we really be sure who is infected and who is not, in order to try to go back to life as normal.  Which begs the question, what kind of society are we that a virus took such hold of us and produced so many sick and so much death in such a short time?  Why aren’t other countries faced with the same infection rate and death toll? Are we that different?  It is not like the United States or the epicenter of the infection here, New York, is a third world country.   Quite the contrary actually. So, none of this seems to follow any specific or normal infectious disease pattern that we know.   Which is why, when it comes to COVID-19 and the future of medicine, the books must be thrown out.   Things are now different.   For better or worse.

As we move back into a new normal, how do we know that those who were once infected, now symptomatic with other symptoms are not re-infected or just in the next phase of the virus? We have done our best, based on the numbers to slow and cut down the curve.   Anyone who has tested positive has been quarantined for at least fourteen days as they need to be without fever for 72 hours, without the help of medicine.  As well, they must be without the breathing issues, cough and other symptoms for at least seven to ten days before being able to come out of their isolation.  Obviously, those who have severe symptoms or are worse have been in intensive care and intubated, hence the need for ventilators.

Medical experts state that most COVID-19 patients are the most contagious right before their symptoms appear.   Which is easier to follow, but there are cases where the above symptoms have passed but the patient remains infectious.   Independent replication of the virus has been documented in the same patient even after the symptoms have passed.   An interesting fact for a virus that just showed up on the planet out of no where right?

So how does one contain this and allow people to come out of the current distancing?  Well based on the data above, the whole two-week concept should get thrown out the window.  Why? Because based on the above the length of infection could be as specific as the cases are.   One patient could be a week while another could be a month.   That means everyone must understand as this is all a learn as you go situation.  It is obvious that we have only scratched the surface of the epidemiology of this illness. Things can change drastically and the risk of a rise in infection is high, without there being an immunization to make sure everyone is safe, which is twelve to eighteen months away at best.  The goal is to understand the warning signs and be able to contain immediately if necessary.  One thing is for certain, we must make sure we take it seriously or we will wind up right back where we were, with

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