Coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, is a viral disease that allegedly originated in a lab in Wuhan China. Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, body aches, loss of taste and smell, and cough. The world has 2.6 million cases, with the USA having over 800,000 cases, the most reported cases in the world.
There are no vaccines or treatments for COVID-19, although there have been some promising results with the drug Remdesivir by Gilead, although randomized control trials still need to be done. Johnson and Johnson is planning to start phase 1 trials of a vaccine this fall but is predicted to take 12-18 months to develop a vaccine. There is an experimental vaccine trial going on in Pennsylvania currently, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates.
Social distancing is the norm now, and it is weird. Just a little over a month ago, I was grabbing brunch at the Bongo Room and it was awesome. They have incredible pancakes. I haven’t had a pancake since that time, sadly, and haven’t been able to interact with friends in person aside from using apps like Zoom or House Party. Now, I have disposable gloves and a homemade mask my mom made in my car. And of course, hand sanitizer.
There are a lot of states that are opening up the economy on May 1. There are also a lot of medical experts saying we will lose all of the gains we have made with social distancing, and a second wave could be overwhelming for the healthcare system. The Lt. Governor of Texas Dan Patrick is a huge proponent of opening up the economy, and said that “there are more important things than living.” While this is a bold and arguably an insensitive statement to make, there is a mental health pandemic going on too in the shadows and it will probably get worse. The Disaster Distress Hotline, a federal crisis Healthline, has seen an 891% increase in calls. There has been a 34% increase in the prescriptions of anxiety medications. There is a serious concern by experts of rising suicide statistics due to isolation.
Healthcare providers are certainly not immune to mental distress. Many physicians and nurses are being recruited to work in intensive care units and emergency departments in their hospitals. Healthcare providers are experiencing moral injury due to lack of resources and manpower. Nurses are suing the state of New York for a lack of supplies and poor working conditions. This is just the beginning.
The media scares us. CNN usually has “Breaking News” in a scary red box informing us about the increasing number of deaths. Deaths are no doubt tragic but is inevitable without a vaccine. Social distancing has been working and there are less deaths on a daily basis. The curve is flattening. There are many companies working toward developing a vaccine. The federal government is releasing a 4th stimulus package for small business this week and there is talks of a 5th. We have realized our weaknesses as a nation and will work together to improve. There is hope.
Illinois may be extending stay at home orders for non-essential business til June 2020. Patients with treatment-resistant mental health disorders are particularly vulnerable during this time. At StrIVeMD Wellness & Ketamine, we perform intravenous ketamine and vitamin therapy, in conjunction with mental health providers, to combat treatment-resistant disease. There is a medical necessity for this treatment to prevent harm and minimize the terrible effects of certain disorders (not eating, poor sleep, suicidal thoughts).
We will closely monitor guidelines and directions from the state of Illinois and will be offering infusions to our patients in the very near future. If you or someone has a mental health disease that is worsening, please call your healthcare provider or go to the emergency room. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
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Take care and stay safe!