Romano Law Nurse Corner COVID-19 #17
MORE TESTING = MORE CASES = MORE CONFUSION? (not really)
Sadly, as the number of COVID-19 cases rise, there still appear to be odd debates in certain circles of our society as to the medical and societal impact of the rise of positive test results.
As of this morning, there are a reported 2.93 million individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. By the same report 879 thousand people have recovered and tragically 132 thousand people have died. That translates roughly to mean that about 30% of those who have tested positive recover.
FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn on Sunday declined to provide supporting evidence for an assertion that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.”
The information this may have been referring to is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report last week that the hospitalization rate is 102.5 per 100,000. In and of itself – this looks very promising for the proposition that not all people testing positive are hospitalized. However, the long-term health ramifications of the coronavirus remain unknown, and mortality rates continue to vary greatly for reasons that are not immediately clear. Again, there are now more than 2.9 million diagnosed cases in the United States and more than 134,000 deaths or about 5% of the diagnosed cases.
According to the CDC, the overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for COVID-19 increased from week 25 (8.1%) to week 26 (8.7%) nationally, driven by increases in seven regions.
National percentages of specimens testing positive for COVID-19:
- Public health laboratories – increased from 5.6% during week 25 to 6.3% during week 26;
- Clinical laboratories – increased from 5.3% during week 25 to 5.8% during week 26;
- Commercial laboratories – increased from 8.7% during week 25 to 9.3% during week 26.
Our medical community has noted that younger people account for a large part of those recently tested positive. While this may account for an increase in positive tests without corollary medical interventions (as many young people are without significant health risks and may recover completely at home or be asymptomatic)- those positive individuals- ill or not – can spread COVID-19 to others who are more at risk.
Among those who have recovered there are many with serious residual. The World Health Organization, for one, has said about 20 percent of those diagnosed with COVID-19 progress to severe disease, including pneumonia and respiratory failure.
COVID-19’s immediate assault on the body is extensive. It targets the lungs, but a lack of oxygen and widespread inflammation can also damage the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and other organs. Although it’s too early to say what lasting disabilities COVID-19 survivors will face, clues come from studies of severe pneumonia—an infection that inflames the air sacs in the lungs, as COVID-19 does. Some of these infections progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), in which those sacs fill with fluid. That condition sometimes leads to scarring that can cause long-term breathing problems.
Many patients hospitalized for COVID-19 are experiencing unexpectedly high rates of blood clots, likely due to inflammatory responses to the infection. These can cause lung blockages, strokes, heart attacks, and other vascular blockages.
"What I'll say is that we have data (concerning COVID-19) in the White House task force," Stephen Hahn, told CNN's "State of the Union." "Those data show us that this is a serious problem. People need to take it seriously."
Given the ever increasing numbers of people with COVID-19 in the population, here are some suggestions, if you are thinking about participating in an event or gathering:
If you are at increased risk for severe illness, consider avoiding high-risk gatherings. The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:
Lowest (no) risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear cloth faces coverings, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.
Stay Safe, Wear Masks to protect yourselves and others.
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.