A great deal of information – and misinformation – has circulated about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. The importance of accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our communities and society as a whole is crucial. Marty Markay, MD, presented his important thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it’s having on our society. He also shares his thoughts about what to look forward to in the future.
Markay is on the team at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, with a specialty in epidemiology. His focus is on the spread of infectious diseases as well as preventing and combating infectious diseases. He is a healthcare futurist. Markay is working to renew public trust in hospitals.
A Frank Look at the Pandemics Like COVID-19
When it comes to misinformation, a great deal of unhelpful data has surrounded the inaccurate recounting of prior pandemics. Markay has researched prior pandemics, including the manner in which they have progressed and receded.
According to Markay, history makes clear that when it comes to pandemics like COVID-19, they all have very similar trajectories. Historically, global pandemics like COVID-19 have lasted about three months. In other words, the worst is endured after about three months of time has passed. This was evidenced in the Spanish Flu, SARS, and MERS. Strong evidence is developing that suggests that COVID-19 will follow this common trajectory.
Reaching the third month milestone and a reduction in cases doesn’t mean that an infectious disease will vanish all together. There will still be individuals who contract the disease. Reinfection is also possible for some people in regard to some types of viruses. A second wave might occur, although it is highly likely to be far less severe than the initial pandemic. A more thorough discussion of what Markay expects to occur in regard to the “lifespan” of the current pandemic is presented shortly.
A Trio of Mindful Techniques to Protect Against COVID-19
Despite a notable amount of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some developments that Markay maintains are spot-on. At the top of that list are what he calls “mindful techniques” to protect against COVID-19. This trio of mindful techniques to protect against a COVID-19 infection are being:
- Mindful of social distance
- Mindful of contact
- Mindful of surfaces
Markay firmly stresses that by being mindful of social distance, mindful of who and how you come into contact with others, and being mindful of common surfaces, we can all place ourselves in better positions to prevent individual infections and to limit the spread of this strain of the coronavirus more generally.
Markay makes a few comments about the application of these mindful techniques. He affirms that maintaining a distance between people of between three to six feet for social distancing is recommended. Six feet seems to be the current mantra and Markay affirms that there is nothing wrong with using the long edge of the spectrum for social distancing.
When coughing or sneezing – no matter the underlying reason – a person needs to stay home. If a person is at high risk for contracting COVID-19, that individual needs to stay home. These include older individuals, people in the latter part of their proverbial Golden Years. It also includes people that have a compromised immune system. In addition, individuals with certain diseases or illnesses also need to stay home. For example, individuals with certain diseases or illnesses should also stay home. For example, a person diagnosed with COPD should remain at home as much as possible.
Markay does stress that being outside is a “good thing.” He goes on to explain that COVID-19 or the coronavirus “doesn’t like being out of doors.” Thus, it is healthy to be outside engaging in activities like going for a walk. The only caveat is to be mindful of the trio of techniques designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 discussed a moment ago.
Ultimate Projections About Impact From COVID-19
Markay has spent time directly communicating with doctors in China and other countries that have been dealing with COVID-19 for a longer period than medical professionals and others have in the United States. He also has done extensive research for years and in advance of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also focused on the data that was derived from the 700 people that contracted coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Markay notes that the Harvard School of Epidemiology considered the matter of the Diamond Princess coronavirus outbreak to be “almost a perfect case study.” 700 people contracted the disease, the majority exhibited little or nothing in the way of symptoms. Seven people died, indicating a fatality rate of about 1%, which is consistent with what many infectious disease experts have been projecting.
Putting the overall impact of COVID-19 into perspective in this manner, Markay makes clear that the peak of the pandemic will be a true “storm.” He notes that “we will witness a storm that is 100-times more deadly that Hurricane Katrina.” He candidly made clear that we likely will be faced with the prospect of rationing ICU care and ventilators.
With that said, he affirmed that he believes science supports that the arc of the COVID-19 pandemic will be about three months. Markay concluded that: “I think we’re going to be good sometime in June.”