Time for Some Positive News

I drove home from my medical office, walking through the building with my N-95 respirator mask and wiped my hands with Purell as I entered my vehicle. I turned on the sports radio talk show only to learn how many of my baseball, football, hockey, basketball and soccer teams were curtailing practices due to COVID-19 infections while they question whether their season would start. Arriving home, I entered through my garage with my pandemic routine of rigorous hand washing, clothes worn outside go right into the washing machine and find a fresh mask in case I need it on my community dog walk.

“Hi honey, how are you and what’s on the agenda tonight?” My wife was keeping her distance because on one of my office medical staff stayed home after her dad tested positive for coronavirus. The practice staff were all near her and now we are all on 14-day self-quarantine while we await our COVID-19 test results.

Standing there as I changed into some clean clothes, I heard my wife say, “Dinner is a salad, steamed broccoli and reheating last night’s leftovers. I have us set up to watch Ozark, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards after you watch the half hour national news.” These were all brilliantly written shows we had missed seeing when they came out, with not one character you could root for or say they are a good person. The shows are smart but negative – about flawed people exhibiting more negative than positive character traits. The evening news was not much better covering the unchecked spread of the coronavirus, brawls about wearing a mask, financially strapped small businesses looking at closing up shop for good and one more look at the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

I decided my best option was to look for some positives, so I found some. Yesterday we sent my 71-year-old patient with bilateral pneumonia from COVID-19 home from the hospital on his road to recovery. With heart disease, obesity, chronic lung disease and multiple intrabdominal abscesses as a complication of emergency surgery; he should not have survived. He did not require oxygen, or convalescent plasma, or remdesevir, which isn’t even currently available in Florida, or dexamethasone which is also in short supply. He should not have lived but he did!

On the same day Regeneron announced that its antiviral monoclonal antibody cocktail called REGN-COV2 was moving into human phase 2 and 3 trials at multiple sites in the US, Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Regeneron believes this medication can be used to treat sick COVID-19 patients and to prevent infection. If this phase goes well, they are prepared to introduce the product to patients in late August or early September.

This was followed by the news that the vaccine being developed in the UK at Oxford and the vaccine being developed in the USA at Moderna had both produced antibody responses in human volunteers at multiple dosage levels and they too are moving into phase 3 trials in humans . Both companies are so sure their product will be successful they are producing it for distribution now. Late fall or early winter are their target dates for distribution.

There is a light at the end of a dark pandemic tunnel. Our job is to stay healthy physically and mentally and do what we can to protect ourselves and others. Wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, stay home, be kinder to everyone else who is stressed out, worried and lonely. Call your physician and make sure you a get a flu shot this fall. We can get through this together and build a better world!