Doctors sound alarm over health effects of continued coronavirus shutdown

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More than 600 doctors signed a letter to President Trump on Tuesday urging him to end the “national shutdown” aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, calling the state’s widespread orders to close businesses and children to home of a “mass incident”. with “exponentially increasing health consequences.” “

The letter describes a variety of consequences that doctors have observed as a result of coronavirus stoppages, including patients missing routine checkups that could detect things like heart problems or cancer, increased drug addiction and ‘alcohol, and an increase in financial instability which could lead to’ [p]freedom and financial uncertainty, “which” is closely linked to ill health “.

“We are alarmed by what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients,” say the doctors in their letter. “The downstream health effects … are massively underestimated and underreported. This is an error of magnitude. “

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The letter continues: “The millions of victims of continuous arrest will hide from view, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke or kidney failure. Among young people, this will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty and abuse.

“Because evil is diffuse, there are those who maintain that it does not exist. We, the undersigned, know the opposite. “

The letter comes as the battle for when and how to lift restrictions on coronaviruses continues to rage on cable television, in the courts, during protests and among government officials. Those who lifted the restrictions warned of the economic consequences of keeping the closures in effect. Those who advocate a more cautious approach say that having more people in the field will necessarily end in more people infected, which would have caused what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and infectious diseases, warned at a Senate hearing last week. dead. “

But these doctors appoint others who suffer, not from the economy or the virus, but simply from being unable to leave their homes. The doctors’ letter lists a handful of patients by their initials and details their experiences.

“Patient E.S. is a mother of two whose office work has been reduced part-time and whose husband has been put on leave,” the letter said. “The father drinks more, the mother is depressed and does not manage her diabetes well, and the children barely do school work. “

“Patient A.F. has chronic but previously stable health problems,” he continues. “Her elective hip replacement was delayed, which made her almost sedentary, which resulted in a pulmonary embolism in April. “

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Psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald noted in a conversation with Fox News that a 31-year-old patient with a history of depression who was attending school for a master’s degree in psychology died about two weeks ago overdose of fentanyl. He accuses the closure imposed by the government.

“She had to stay in her apartment, mostly under house arrest because most of the people here [Los Angeles] for weeks and weeks she couldn’t see her therapist – she could talk to the therapist by phone but she couldn’t see her in person. She was unable to attend any of her group meetings, which helped maintain her abstinence from opioids … and fell back into depression.

“She was just too withdrawn to ask for help,” McDonald said, noting that due to regulations, only six people could attend her funeral. “She was just trying to escape her pain … I blame these government actions for her death. “

Fox News asked McDonald, as well as three other doctors involved in the letter, if they thought the indirect effects of the closings outweighed the likely direct consequences of their lifting – the avoidable “suffering and death” evoked by Fauci last week. Senate hearing. All four said they believed it.

“The very initial argument … which seemed reasonable three months ago, is that to limit the flow of overwhelmed patients in hospitals that would prevent adequate care, we had to spread infections and therefore deaths in specific places that could become hot spots, especially in New York… It was a valid argument at the start based on the models that were given, “said McDonald. “What we have seen in the past three months is that no city – none, zero – outside of New York has even been significantly stressed. “

McDonald’s is referring to the misconception that business closings and home maintenance orders to “smooth the curve” are aimed at reducing the total number of people who will fall ill with coronavirus. On the contrary, these flattening measures of the curve mainly aim at reducing the number of sick people at a given time, thus avoiding an increase in cases which overwhelms the health system and causes avoidable deaths because not all patients are able to access critical care rescue.

Dr. Mark McDonald is one of the doctors who signed an alarm letter about the health damage caused by coronavirus blocking orders. (Courtesy / Mark McDonald)

Dr. Mark McDonald is one of the physicians who signed an alarming letter about the harm to health caused by coronavirus blocking orders. (Courtesy / Mark McDonald)

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McDonald said “hospitals are not only overwhelmed, they are actually closed.” He noted that at a Los Angeles area hospital where Dr. Simone Gold, the letter’s chief organizer, works “emergency technicians have been cut by 50 percent.”

Gold also said that the effects of the shutdown were more severe for the vast majority of people than the potential virus would spread if it were quickly woken up.

“When we look at the death and serious illness data, these are patients who were very sick at the start,” she said, “there are always exceptions. … But when you look at the pure numbers, it’s overwhelmingly patients who are in nursing homes and patients with serious underlying conditions. That is to say, this is where our resources should be spent. I think it’s awfully unethical … part of the reason why we leave [the virus] stealing from retirement homes is because we are diverting resources from society in general. We have limited resources, we have to put them where it has killed people. “

People of all ages, of course, have been shown to be able to get coronavirus. And there have been reports of health complications in children that could be linked to the disease. Fauci also warned against the assumption that children are largely protected from the effects of the virus.

“We don’t know everything about this virus … especially with regard to children,” said Fauci during a Senate hearing last week. “We have to be careful, not riders. “

Newport Beach, Calif., Doctor Jeffrey Barke, concierge, who edited the letter with Gold, also highlighted the disparate effects of the virus.

“There are thousands of us out there who don’t agree with Dr. Fauci’s point of view and [White House coronavirus response coordinator] Dr. [Deborah] Birx who believes, yes, that this virus is deadly, that it is dangerous and that it is contagious, but only for a select group of Americans, “he said. The way forward is to allow young and healthy, the so-called herd, to be exposed and develop a level of antibodies that protects them both and also prevents the virus from spreading to the more vulnerable. ”

Dr. Simone Gold is the co-founder of A Doctor a Day, an organization dedicated to raising the voice of doctors who do not agree with stopping coronaviruses. (Courtesy / Simone Gold)

Dr. Simone Gold is the co-founder of A Doctor a Day, an organization dedicated to raising the voice of doctors who disagree with stopping coronaviruses. (Courtesy / Simone Gold)

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Dr. Scott Barber, an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta, reflected the comments of other doctors on how the medical system was able to manage the coronavirus without being overwhelmed, but also noted that the death rates reported by the coronavirus could be skewed.

“The vast majority of people who contract this disease are asymptomatic or so symptomatic that they do not even know they are sick. And so the denominator in our calculation of the mortality rate is much larger than we think, “he said. . “The risk of dying from COVID is relatively low when you consider these facts. “

Gold, an Los Angeles-based specialist in emergency medicine, edited the letter on behalf of a new organization called A Doctor a Day.

One doctor a day has not yet been officially launched but sent the letter, with hundreds of signatures from doctors across the country, to the White House on Tuesday. Gold and the group’s co-founder, Barke, said they had started the organization to defend patients against government-imposed coronavirus closures by raising the voices of doctors who believed the negative externalities of the shutdowns outweighed the potential downside of letting people resume their normal business.

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To collect signatures for the letter, Gold and Barke partnered with the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a group of doctors who advocate for less government interference in doctor-patient relationships, and a notably took part in legal challenges against the Affordable Care Act and advocated allowing doctors to use hydroxychloroquine on themselves and their patients.

Gold, in a conversation with Fox News, lamented that the debate around hydroxychloroquine has become politicized, noting that it is taken as a preventative for other illnesses and that the potentially harmful effects of the drug mainly affect sufferers heart problems.

The drug is approved to treat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, but the Food and Drug Administration has stated that ” [h]ydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. “

The FDA has also warned medical professionals that the drug should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of hospitals or research centers.

Gold stated that she had direct knowledge of doctors who take hydroxychloroquine and stated that, although “we will see” its effectiveness as she studies, there are indications that it may be effective for prevent or mitigate COVID-19 and she may therefore understand why doctors can take the medication themselves or prescribe it for their patients.

There is also other research that suggests that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for coronavirus, which has largely fueled the consensus that the risks of the drug outweigh the potential benefits.

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Gold, who is a member of the national board of directors of the Save Our Country Coalition – an assortment of conservative groups that aim to “bring about a rapid, safe and responsible reopening of American society” – also said that she feared that his message about the misdeeds of closures is becoming politicized. She said she agreed with the general principles of the coalition and decided to sign on request, but did not do much work with her and plans to request that her name be removed because people associate largely his message on the reopening of the country from a conservative political point of view.

“I did nothing else than that,” she said. “It causes a lot of misunderstanding about what I’m doing, so I think I’m just going to withdraw my name because it’s not really supposed to be political. “

Gold also said she was in no way associated with Trump’s re-election campaign, referring to her inclusion in an Associated Press article on Trump campaign efforts to recruit doctors to support the message from the President on the lifting of restrictions on coronaviruses. The story of AP details a call organized by CNP Action, which is also part of the Save Our Country coalition, which involved a senior Trump campaign official and aimed at recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to make appearances on television calling for the reopening of the economy. As quickly as possible.

Andrew News’s Andrew O’Reilly and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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