My Perspectives for Monday Aug. 24, 2020

Perspectives...


Happy Monday and I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend, despite the rain.  What a storm we had yesterday morning!  Lightening actually struck the

which is ironic since the wealthy gentleman who built the estate supposedly was instrumental in sponsoring the first paid fire department in Charleston! 


My little fun fact for the day! Now for Covid...Once again, I have good news to report. Both the daily cases and the confirmed deaths continue to decline. Once once again, the total weekly number of cases were lower than that predicted by DHEC; for the week of the August 16th, the cases were approximately 10 % less than predicted.



The graphs on the DHEC website impressively show declines in the cases as well as a downward curves in the percent positive numbers. DHEC and the press yesterday expressed Covid caution because our percent positive number is higher than the national average. However, I remain skeptical over the importance of a percent positive number as it affected by so many variables. As an example, I was told on Friday that MUSC is only encouraging symptomatic persons to be tested which would skew the percent positive number.


As the latest Covid concerns center on the safety of returning to school, I though I would show some SC data that could lend some perspective on the risks associated with Covid. I spent some time looking at the death statistics for South Carolina reported for 2018. In that year, there were 50,633 deaths. The leading cause of death was heart disease, totaling 10,460. Those with chronic lower respiratory diseases (COPD) totaled 2990, Cancer was 10,360, Alzheimer’s was 2617, Diabetes was 1581, Septicemia was 947, and Pneumonia/Influenza was 882.


We have been told that those with underlying diseases, especially those listed above, are at increased risk for Covid. And since many of the 2380 deaths suffered from the above diseases, I would suspect that when the 2019 and 2020 data is reported, that the numbers of deaths associated with these other diseases will be affected. I even wonder if there has even been an influenza death recorded since we started counting Covid deaths?


Hmmm. It is also important to realize that the median age of those who have died from Covid is 77, but those who are aged 71 and older comprise only 10% of those who have contracted Covid (those over 81 comprise 4%). And of the 2380 deaths, 948 of the patients resided in nursing homes.


I just explained how those who suffered from diseases like Alzheimer’s but supposedly succumbed to Covid comprise the total Covid death number. While this may affect (and decrease) the number of SC deaths caused by Alzheimer’s, we run the risks of seeing increases in poor outcomes from other diseases if Covid prevents people from seeking or obtaining health care.



So, while there may be delays in cancer diagnoses, we also run the risks of seeing increases in mental heath problems if we don’t resume our normal routines. This mental health element is particularly important as we consider the return to school. Numbers such as those I have outlined above should be considered when making such drastic decisions about reopening schools. And some may point out the problems encountered at Chapel Hill last week.


I did a little searching to see what policies for the return to school UNC enacted. I did not find anything about testing prior to the return to school. If this was the case, pre-return-to-school testing may have prevented the outbreak. As I end my blog for this week, I want to highlight some more positive news.


The treatments for Covid keep expanding. We now have Plamsa treatments in addition to steroids and Remdesivir. Vaccines are on the way. And while

is taboo to mention because Covid has unfortunately become political, there are over 50 studies that support the use of the drug for Covid.


‘Til next time…


Dr. Heidi Williams

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