A plea for these dangerous times

I hardly need to tell you that we are in the midst of a worldwide emergency; an emergency that sadly could have been contained here with relatively simple practices. I will not get into what COVID-19 is, since there is plenty of good resources about it out there. Suffice to say, right now there is no way to tell for sure how an individual will be affected by it. There are trends, but no assurances. It has infected and killed older and younger people alike.

One thing is for certain: this is no hoax or fake news. Moreover, we all know (even if some do not accept it) that what is going on right now is happening because this country waited too long to act. Now we are essentially in damage control mode. Hence, this is my admittedly “ramblish” plea to you.

It is no secret that I haven’t seen eye to eye with a lot of people because of the current government, and I will not get into any details except to say that I no longer attend church. However, some of the kindest, most honorable people I have ever met, I met in my former church. For this reason, I am writing to plead to these same people and others of the same ideas to heed the advice of properly trained medical professionals with no hidden agenda.

Our best bet to combat this public health threat is to practice the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO), and even though I should not need to state the following, do not take medication on the advice from celebrities, politicians, “influencers”, etc. NOT ONE of them really cares about your health. I am sure that you get the idea.

Also, I’d like to offer you what I think is a good rule of thumb: An internet search is no substitute for the years of training that a medical professional has under her/his belt.

One of the issues that worry me the most is the current fad about a drug called chloroquine. **Please note that right now I am unapologetically wearing my scientific hat. I have advanced degrees in biochemistry (MS) and pharmacology (PhD), and I am only stating this fact to express that I know a thing or two about these things.**

Alas, I am no clinician, so again, talk to a trusted health professional who has YOUR health as her/his priority. I encourage you to please verify everything I am saying in this post *using appropriate sources*.

Moving on, chloroquine belongs to a class of drugs used to treat malaria and other conditions. However, it is far from a harmless drug. In general, this class of drugs is only prescribed in cases when the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. Just to give you an example of the true nature of this drug, chloroquine is a common component in fish tank cleaners. You read right, fish tank cleaners. Tragically,  as you surely know, in the last few days people have *died* as a direct consequence of taking this chemical on the advice of, well, “not a doctor”. I would hate for this to happen to any more people, least of all, you, because of misplaced trust.

Also, as much as I would like to be wrong on this one, the current health crisis will not be over in just a couple of weeks, and it will certainly get worse before it begins to get better, and it will only get better once we, as a society, begin taking this issue seriously. Make no mistake, if in two weeks from now you start going “out there” as if everything is back to normal, you are putting yourself and your loved ones in danger.

There are no easy solutions to our current problem, there is no vaccine currently available against this virus, and there will not be one in at least a year (and this is the very best case scenario). Whoever tells you otherwise is lying, plain and simple.


Incidentally, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation and admiration towards the true heroes helping us in our current predicament. Do I have to tell you who am I talking about?

As of right now, the best way to protect as many people as we can from this threat is to extend isolation practices until the medical community deems the outside world safe enough, and even after this storm passes, the best thing to do is to keep practicing good public health habits in order to minimize future epidemics (and believe you me, there will be more).

So in summary, FOLLOW PROPER MEDICAL ADVICE WASH YOUR FREAKING HANDS AND DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. This is no guarantee, but frankly, the best we can do right now is to try minimizing risks.

I do not know what else to say except this: PLEASE, stay healthy and safe.

COVID19

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Credit: CDC.gov

~~~

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**For a list of all my scientific papers please click HERE.

**I wrote the first chapter on this technical book. And another chapter in this other technical book.

**I have authored two popular science books (so far). For my Amazon author page, click here.

**Here’s my Goodreads author page.

**Want to see more of the things I write? Go here for some other posts.

**Shoot me a message if you have any questions. (orpagan@yahoo.com)

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**For the customary (and very important) disclaimers please go to my “About” page…

 

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