Updated: Apr 1
I am a physician, father and grandfather. Missing family times together is a new challenge for my wife and I. Sunday, we celebrated my older daughter’s birthday on facetime. We had a dance presentation by her 2 daughters, and we laughed and felt connected. We loved the chalk art by their daughters on the sidewalk to their home. We have also had facetime chats with my other daughters’ family and her newborn son and 2-year-old daughter. We also have daily chats with my 94 year old father. He is now on Facebook and loves it. But it still seems like we are living in an altered state, much like portrayed in an Edward Hopper painting. Unfortunately, this is the reality of a pandemic. New rules and new guidelines to help control/stop a global pandemic and more illness and deaths.
Do we like it? That is not the important question.The important question is what we can do to all work together as a society and lessen the effects of this virus.We all need to come together and all act responsibly.This requires everyone to respect each other. This virus affects everyone.
These pictures I took from my backyard over the last 2 days and this scene has been repeated several times a day for the last few days. I see crowds of people gathering on the island in front of my home. Boat loads of young people partying with several boats tied together. Under normal times this is all part of lake life, but that needs to stop. The number of boaters on the lake with large groups over 10 is also increasing and so is the exposure risk. I understand that we all are needing some time to connect and get some fresh air but times have changed. We are all in this together. This story needs a new direction and one that respects science and the severity of this pandemic.
This access to fresh air needs to happen, but at your home and with respect for your neighbors. Not in large groups that put so many at risk and that ignore the orders from the community leaders. Buy a puzzle, write letters, draw, or do a craft. Connections are also important but use social distancing. Please use the social media apps on your phones and computers to stay in touch. Please, stop putting other people’s lives in danger.
We have been ordered to Social isolate and stay home by the Montgomery County Commissioners Court. That order was established to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. It will be in effect from 11:59 p.m. Friday March 27th to April 12, 2020. Under the order, all residents must also follow a daily curfew from 11:59 p.m. to 6 a.m. The order does include an exception for those seeking urgent medical attention and essential federal employees. This order may well be extended.
On Sunday, March 29th, I spoke to the Montgomery County Sherriff lake officers and they pleaded with me to call the SJRA and have them close the lake as they are seeing the same thing. Boats and partying on the lake in large numbers ignoring the order. This behavior is irresponsible and dangerous during this time of pandemic.
The Covid 19 virus pandemic is real and expanding exponentially. The window to prevent the spread of the virus is Now not in 2 weeks from now when the crisis is far worse. People are dying and becoming ill in record numbers across our country.
The majority of Covid 19 cases in Houston hospitals are in the age group of 20 to 50. The growth rate is exponential. We are seeing that infants can also be infected. One died in an Illinois hospital. This virus spreads rapidly among people of all ages. The virus spread is worse from those with mild or minimal symptoms as they don’t feel that sick and are not self-isolating. Clearly those with health issues and advancing age are at higher risk for mortality.
New hot spots are appearing across the country daily. We do not have the appropriate testing data to make future predictions on when this will end. It takes 5 to 10 days after being exposed to become symptomatic. What the hospitals are seeing today, are from the exposures that occured 1 to 2 weeks ago.
This is a new virus and we do not know about how it will behave with warmer weather or whether it will re-emerge in the fall. Hopefully we will have a treatment that is based on science soon, but this may take up to a year.
The data is clear that this will get worse. Unless we all act together as a society to lessen the risk it will be catastrophic. Having many more be exposed, and then spreading the virus to others is preventable. We can’t ignore the science and the epidemiology. Wash your hands for 20 seconds frequently and don’t touch you or your child's face. We need to social isolate now to prevent this from affecting our society in preventable ways and further stressing our already taxed health care system beyond its limits.
Lastly, to all the health care teams, first responders and their families: I salute your dedication to provide care, but you must to demand the protective equipment you need to be safe. In a normal times at a hospital, masks, are used to keep the patient safe during surgical procedures. Now they are used to protect the health care workers. One ICU nurse will go thru 20 protective wear changes in one 8-hour shift, so the needs are also increasing exponentially. There can be up to 2 to 3 nurses per patient in an ICU. Add to that, all the other health care providers and the first responders who need these as well. The need for Personal protective gear is immediate. You must care for the patients, but we can't lose any more of you to this disease.
From the Janitors, First Responders to the Health Care Teams who so unselfishly give, I thank you, and please be safe. You are all heroes!
There is a stay at home order in place for the entire Montgomery County including Lake Conroe and a nightly curfew. Please follow it for you and your family’s health, and the health of all of the medical care providers.
Al Heilman MD
The following website came online and is an excellent resource for information. This is where the data came from that Anthony S. Fauci, M.D used to change the presidents course of action.
Feel free to share. https://covid19.healthdata.org/