Dr. Hopland on social distancing: ‘Don’t quit now, we’re still in the game!’

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Flattening the curve of COVID-19 is the ultimate goal, globally. However, with positive projections showing current social distancing practices working, should we begin to relax?
According to Dr. Arnold Hopland, founder of Medical Care, the answer is a definitive no.
“Social distancing works for all infectious diseases” he said. “The problem is that the coronavirus is one thousand times more infectious than the influenza. It’s not going to be killed as easily as the flu was. But, social distancing does work. My strong recommendation is that we continue that indefinitely to the degree that it’s reasonable.”
Hopland said that such practices of social distancing actually contributed to ending the flu this season.
In relation to practices necessary, Hopland urges people to continue self isolation and also to wear masks when out in public. He said this is important to protect others.
“My recommendation, for the sake of other folk, when you’re out in public is to wear a mask,” he said. “Those masks don’t protect you from others, they protect others from you. Anyone wearing a mask is showing respect toward their fellow citizens.”
Hopland said that due to people not showing symptoms or not knowing if they have the virus, wearing a mask protects others in case you are. He also said that wearing a mask, and even making one, can be made fun.
In terms of keeping ourselves safe, Hopland said we need to avoid contact with those infected.
“For safety of ourselves, the only safety is to not come into contact with someone who is infected,” he said. “It spreads so rapidly in a crowd. Avoid crowds, keep your contacts down to very few people and maintain only those contacts. If one of them gets infected, then all of you have to quarantine.”
In response to whether it is time to loosen restrictions, Hopland said there isn’t enough information for people to make that call.
“We have no idea who is, and who is not infected,” he said. “Until we have antibody tests or rapid testing, we aren’t going to know that. People seem to be most infectious before they show symptoms. Therefore, the infected population is not known. We don’t know how many have had it and gotten over it. We just don’t have enough information now to say back to normal.”
Instead of letting up, Hopland said we should do the opposite.
“Now is not the time to slack off, it is time to double down,” he said.
Hopland said that people should quarantine themselves for any symptoms they have, tested or not, to avoid spread. Usual symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Others include severe cold symptoms. Another sign is loss of smell.
While current numbers show low case amounts, you should assume not everyone has been tested, which they have not, meaning anyone around you may be infected.
“Now is the crucial time to buckle down,” he said. “I would make it a headline, ‘don’t quit now, we’re still in the game.’ We’re ahead, but don’t quit. You don’t lay down in the third quarter because you’re ahead.”

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