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Thanks to Rachel Rowland for her well argued comments in your Nov 19 issue. Prevalence remains low in Rapp, so we can safely keep schools open.
The respected Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) models predict a US daily death toll of 5,818 by Feb. 1 if we back off from public health measures. With near universal mask adoption: 1,402. (We are now at ~ 1,000/d.). While proving more accurate than others, IHME has consistently underestimated future cases.
The time purchased at great price by restrictions has allowed us to get better at this, with new treatment interventions and massive alterations to increase COVID-19 capacity. But at my hospital, some days we are now calling around to find places to transfer patients to. And the vaccines and antibodies won’t be generally available for several months.
But they are coming. Now is not the time to let up. Masks and social distancing and limiting contacts will allow us to continue to reopen the economy and recover. I am also painfully aware of the economic costs associated with cases, not only deaths depriving families of income sources, but also the possibly 1 out of 5 “long haulers,” survivors with potentially permanently debilitating consequences. And while young healthy people are less at risk, as the denominator rises so too does the absolute number of those affected.
I will continue to wear my mask to protect you. Please return the favor.
Hugh Hill, MD
Editor’s note: Dr. Hugh Hill is an emergency medicine physician at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. He has over 45 years of experience in the medical field.