Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael Rose
McLeod Sr. Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer
A surge in COVID-19 is underway but treatments are also improving, according to McLeod Sr. Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Michael Rose.
Here’s a summary of Dr. Rose’s comments:
We are seeing COVID surge across the country very rapidly once again. There are a variety of theories about why that’s happening. Some of the communities in the United States have released some of the mask mandates. Many more economies have opened up. The weather is cooling down in large segments of the country. That drives people indoor. So now you take that combination of lots of people gathering indoors with fewer masks and less social distancing. That situation is the recipe for a surge.
In South Carolina, in contrast, we’ve been very fortunate. Most of our communities have maintained the mask mandates. Looking at the cell phone tracking data, people of South Carolina have maintained about the level of social distancing that they began in the spring, continued through the summer, except for the tourist season, and now is back to levels that we were at before. We’re seeing a rise in the cases in the state.
Fortunately, therapeutics are coming online for COVID. Doctors and nurses to use these therapeutics with very good results for patients. So in combination, these medications have been very effective at treating COVID.
COVID affects you in two ways, the first is by infecting the cell and reproducing itself. It’s damaging to the cell. It takes over the cell’s normal function and knocks it out. The second part of the COVID illness is your body’s response to the virus itself. Because the virus is new to our systems, we throw everything that our immune system has at it, which not only then attacks the virus, but in many circumstances for people, can affect our own body’s immune system.
So the combination of therapeutics and the knowledge to treat COVID-19 is focused on those two arms, one is to try to knock down the reproduction rate of the virus, and the second is to knock down the response of the body to the virus.
Medications that attack the spike proteins are another way to rapidly knock down the virus. And if you add to that steroids, which are those medications that help reduce the inflammation or some of the collateral damage in the body, it’s like three punches to the virus. Right now, these are proving to be very effective. And that’s why you’ve seen the mortality rates from COVID-19 shift very dramatically downward in the last couple of months, and more and more of those therapeutics are coming online.
This is a risky time for all of us, because those therapeutics are not perfect. And still, many people are susceptible to COVID-19 and there’s lots of COVID-19 around.
So we have seen the COVIUD-19 death rise sharply twice over the last three or four weeks in South Carolina. And that’s what we need to be diligent about in this next two to three month period. Remain relatively safe in social distancing. Try to keep multiple generations from gathering at the times of the holiday. Maintain masking while we have the vaccine coming online. Certainly, the knowledge of our healthcare providers, our doctors and our nurses at mastering how to care for people with this disease is just getting better every day.