Experts Weigh in on Data, or Lack Thereof
In this No Spin Live Special Edition, experts discuss the CoronaVirus crisis, existing data and issues with not using REAL data in formulating opinion/ strategy about the virus and disease. Drs. Charles Randquist of Stockholm, Sweden, Tom Wiener of Houston, Texas, David Sieber of San Francisco, and William P. Adams Jr. of Dallas have a lively discussion on the CVD-19 topic. All of these physicians are also scientists and have been involved in generating important data over their careers in the surgical fields, especially in plastic surgery.
Different Countries Have Taken Different Strategies
The experts discuss a variety of different aspects of this crisis. Dr. Randquist details the different strategy being taken in Sweden and rationale for it. The Swedish government has not taken an overall isolation of the population but rather a targeted isolation of elderly with strict social distancing behavioral recommendations for the rest of the Swedish society. Currently younger children are still in school and businesses are operating, but the citizens are carefully monitoring the situation and placing themselves and their families in isolation should they exhibit symptoms of the viral illness. Dr. Randquist acknowledges that there may be many factors that led to this different approach and it may not be the right approach for other countries. He also reviews interesting data from the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918.
Diamond Princess Ship Data is Critical Information
Dr. Tom Wiener discusses data comparing the seasonal influenza virus as well as other pandemics with the Coronavirus. He also makes a very compelling argument about the lack of data and reviews the best data that we have today, which is the Diamond Princess cruise ship from February 2020 when after a large outbreak occurred and every single passenger was tested. On the ship of 3711 passengers, 100% were tested and 18% (712) were found to be positive. Fifty-two (52%) of those were asymptomatic infections, the rate of the passengers who tested positive that ended up in critical care is currently 2.1%. The overall death rate is 1.1%. The ship’s average age is 58 and 33% were 70 and older; all deaths were passengers age 70 and older to date. Co-morbidities were not reported in this group. The source for this information comes from Tim Russell, a researcher who analyzed the numbers from the Diamond Princess. The analysis from the Japanese government makes these important points that the ship was really a worst-case scenario where the population was older and they were closely confined to each other and hygiene was poor. Doing extrapolation to other known populations, such as China, the mortality rate from the novel virus currently would end up being somewhere between 0.5% and 0.9%.
Dr. Wiener makes the point that this is the only known data set where everyone was tested and therefore it should be the basis for all calculations until we have more data. It is also important to realize that this experience on the Diamond Princess ship predates some of the known advances such as treatments that are now currently being used effectively.
Dr. Wiener also reviews where this virus came from, and although there are conspiracy theories that it may have been developed in a weapons lab, that may not be the case. It simply may be the inevitable recombination of RNA from different species such as bats and snakes that were ultimately ingested in a human in China, where these are consumed regularly, and that resulted in this recombination of novel CVD-19, a virus that is a variation of the many viruses that cause the common cold.
Public Needs to use Reliable Information Sources on Coronavirus
Dr. David Sieber discusses the lack of data in some of the misnomer’s that are being promoted on social media. He cautions the public in general to use social media, and many media outlets as a reliable source information as this is dangerous practice. He also gives accolades to Dr. Anthony Fauci from the NIH and Director of NIAID as the lead in the United States government led team for the coronavirus. Dr. Sieber strongly recommends that American citizens use sources such as Dr. Fauci as well as their state governments for guidance and information.
The situation the United States continues to evolve on an hourly basis. The experts acknowledge that the current US strategy to minimize contact is very important currently for Americans to strictly follow. The problems that a been seen in Europe have been where the healthcare system is not been able to keep up with the need. The experts also make a point that is often lost on the layperson that the US healthcare system as well as the Global Healthcare system is on the limit at all times meaning that intensive care units across the world remain almost at capacity every day and have been then that way for many years, and because of that any increases in critical care demands will outpace the available resources to treat those.
Minimizing cases by minimizing social contacts, which is also what people have heard about flattening the curve by doing extreme social distancing techniques is highly recommended. The experts on this show believe that advances in treatments, such as Chloroquine, will help in battling this viral illness. Dr. Randquist makes the point that citizens should have “a cool mind, warm heart, and clean hands” in dealing with the situation. Said another way that this public health crisis is really: of the people, for the people, and by the people meaning that these measures only work when all citizens #1 use the reliable information and not Social Media misnomer’s that are rampant on currently and in many media sources, and finally #2 follow the recommendations by their public health leaders in their countries. The experts conclude that there will be much more information to follow and with smart practices the world will move past these challenging times.
The Plastic Surgery Channel remains committed to reliable information on not only plastic surgery but all of healthcare especially in this situation.