In a report released Friday afternoon, experts now predict COVID restrictions until June 8th. Governor Hogan, during Friday’s press conference, said, “Our case numbers are still growing every day. And the number of deaths is continuing to increase.”
As of Saturday, Maryland had 12,308 confirmed COVID cases and 463 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 145 people were hospitalized and 38 people lost their lives to COVID.
“We believe that we are getting close to the peak in the next week or so, but time will tell,” Governor Hogan said at Friday’s press conference.
The good news this week is that the roadmap out of COVID restrictions is beginning to become clearer. We have outlined how we get back to normal below.
COVID Restrictions Until June 8th?
The IHME out of University of Washington has been producing one of the most influential COVID models. Experts published revised estimates for Maryland which indicate we may be able to move to a “containment strategy” after June 8th–assuming all measures in place are followed by Marylanders.
For more on what moving from mitigation to containment looks like, read this excellent article in JAMA published April 17th.
How Does Maryland Ease Restrictions
Governor Hogan outlined “four building blocks that must be solidly in place before lifting of restrictions.” These are:
- Expanded testing available (roughly 3 times the number currently available).
- Increase hospital surge capability
- Increased supply of PPE
- Fourteen days of fewer COVID deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
Once these objectives are met, we can move into “Phase One”. In Maryland, we will need to reach our peak and then show 14 days of improvement (and start a lot more testing).
Three Phase Way Out of COVID-19
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infection disease expert and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, outlined the 3 phase way out.
Dr. Fauci was careful to emphasize that ONLY when testing is widely available to anyone, and the data shows 14 days in a row of improvement, can a state move in to Phase One.
- Higher risk people remain at home.
- Teleworking continues.
- Social distancing continues (hand washing, masks, 6 feet).
- Gatherings allowed up to 10 people.
- Restaurants and gyms re-open but with strict new social distance rules.
- Bars remain closed.
- School and day care remain closed.
To move from Phase One to Phase Two, states must show a new 14 day period of reducing deaths, cases and fewer positive test results.
- Higher risk people stay home.
- Teleworking encouraged.
- School re-opens.
- Gathering of 50 people or less permitted.
- Bars can reopen with strict social distancing.
To move from Phase Two to Phase Three, states will have to again show another 14 day trend.
- Higher risk people can return to public interactions (with social distancing).
- Larger venues/gatherings could re-open but with social distancing.
The return to “normal” most likely won’t happen until a vaccine is available, Dr. Fauci and other experts have said. The current estimates for this vaccine is 18-24 months.
Frustration in Maryland
A protest in Annapolis is scheduled for Saturday April 18th by a group stating, “There is no compelling reason why we can’t protect the sick and vulnerable and get our economy back to work.”
Governor Hogan addressed the protesters claims that these COVID restrictions infringe on their rights. Hogan said Friday, “This isn’t just about protecting yourself, it’s protecting your neighbors.” He added that “Currently, there is no way of knowing if you are a carrier and spreading this deadly virus to others.”
President Trump egged on protesters tweeting in all caps, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” (as well as Minnesota and Virginia).
Health experts agree, though, that individuals refusing to participate with the rest of their state’s leadership, will cause an area to slide backward weeks in attempts to reopen and will undoubtedly kill many.
“Think of it this way. Owning a gun is a right. But firing that gun in a crowd may accidentally kill someone.” —Dr. Michael Freedman, of Evolve Direct in Annapolis.
Dr. Freedman added, “It’s important to remember that this virus is potentially deadly. Between 5-10% of people you infect will die. Would you put a gun to a loved one’s head if there was a 1 in 10, or even 1 in 20 chance you would kill them?”
Experts agree that until widespread testing can confirm who has had COVID and who has not, or a vaccine is available, there is no other way to “protect the sick and vulnerable” without social distancing–and without all of us working together.
COVID is “Not that bad”
COVID killed more Americans last week than any other medical problem (except heart disease).
Some people have said that, “It’s like the flu” or “I’ll take my chances with it”.
But there are a number of reasons that COVID is scary–and we all should continue to stay strong.
- It’s new. That means every single person you come in to contact with, will get it from you.
- It’s true–80% of people will have a “mild” illness. But “mild”, as survivors will tell you, is 2-3 weeks of “something 10 times worse than any flu”.
- 20% of people who get it will NOT have a mild case and will be hospitalized.
- Although you have LESS of a chance of dying if you are younger, you still might die. It’s not worth the risk.
- If you are younger, and you don’t die from it, you might accidentally kill someone in your family or someone you love.
- If too many of those 1 in 5 people (20%) show up in the same week, hospitals won’t be able to help them, and they will most likely die.
If you, or someone you know, has had it with social distancing and stay-at-home, know that we all have. But at least we now have a road map out. It’s a challenging path, a path that requires sacrifice and strength but we can do this, together.
For more information, about Coronavirus (COVID), click here.
If you have been experiencing fever, headache, dry cough or any of the above symptoms, please CALL your doctor immediately.
Evolve Direct Primary Care is always happy to see you as well. Same day scheduling on-line or call or text: 844-322-4222. Or email them at [email protected].
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