There is a lot of misinformation on this topic and what this virus means for us. part of the reason for this is that we don’t fully understand everything about this new virus. It is believed to be caused by humans eating a certain type of bat in China that was infected with a corona virus. Coronaviruses are very common, think common cold. The problem is when an animal corona virus crosses with a human corona virus it becomes a new and unique virus that we haven’t seen before and the characteristics of such a virus can be anywhere from mild illness to devastating pandemic.
The preliminary information we have on this particular virus is that it seems to have a 2 – 5 X higher mortality rate compared to the common flu which if you have been watching the news you know kills 30 – 60 thousand people a year in the US alone. The difference here is we have vaccines and medication for the flu that even if only 50% effective, drastically reduces mortality rates. In addition, COVID-19 seems to be much more contagious than the typical flu.
The good news is that COVID-19 seems to spare the young and healthy. In fact, it is believed that the number of cases is much higher because children seem to have mild symptoms if any at all when infected. 80% of the deaths appear to be in those individuals that are 70 years old or older and particularly those that have other health problems such as lung disease, diabetes or heart disease. As with many viruses, the majority of those that are infected will have a mild to moderate illness for a week or two and then recover. The mortality rate may prove to be much lower than what is being reported due to the fact that many cases go unreported because of the mild nature of symptoms.
Unfortunately our efforts to, “contain,” this virus are likely futile. It will likely follow the same type of pattern as the flu which means millions of Americans will contract the disease and if mortality estimates are correct, death rates could be in the hundreds of thousands, especially in the elderly and those that have other health problems. The bottom line is that we are likely in for a rough few months as this virus makes its way through our population. For perspective, the CDC estimates that the 2018 – 2019 influenza season was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, and 34,200 deaths. Again the challenge with COVID-19 is that we don’t have a vaccination yet and unlike the flu, we don’t have a medication that is effective against it. One saving grace is that containment efforts may slow down the spread enough to get us to warmer weather which typically relates to much lower rates of illness.
So what to do with all of this good and doom? The one thing we can do is to boost your immune systems as much as possible. As you have heard over and over, washing hands is likely one of the single most important things you can do to reduce your risk of getting these types of viruses. Limiting hand contact with surfaces that are touched all day long by people (door knobs, elevator buttons etc). If you have attended my lectures on sleep you know that good sleep – in the 7 – 8 hour range is one of the best things you can do to optimize your immune system because we know that poor sleep for even one night drastically reduces killer T cells that help us fight off these kinds of viruses.
If you are not feeling well, running a fever, etc…please let us know. We will make arrangements. No need to risk any possible new exposures.
Dr. George Northrup MD. PA. provides TMS Therapy in the Tampa Bay Area, specializing in the relief of depression with innovative technology by NeuroStar.
We provide comprehensive care for depression. Call us for a free consultation.
We are excited to be able to offer this treatment and participate in most insurance plans to reduce costs for our patients. Most patients will pay less for their care than the cost of psychiatric medications.
For an introduction of TMS therapy, this short video outlines how TMS treats depression by describing the NeuroStar system and the physiology of the brain cells involved in depression. Learn how electrical currents between nerve cells can be altered by TMS to make adjustments in brain cell activity, and eventually rebalance brain chemistry.
Watch how the doctor delivers the repetitive magnetic pulses to the patient, while she is comfortably seated and fully alert. TMS helps those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression rediscover life.
Located in the South Tampa Area serving Tampa Bay
Main Office: 3601 West Azeele Street, Tampa, Florida 33609
TMS Therapy Center: 2909 West Bay to Bay BLVD, Suite 210, Tampa, Florida 33629