On Thursday, Dr. Wendy Mayes-Beasly spoke to our community virtually about her knowledge of COVID-19, its global impact, and how it affects our local community. She is a primary care physician, a parent of two students who attend WSSS, and is married to High School science teacher Paul Beasly.
Wendy began by emphasizing that her knowledge is based on her experience and research and might not reflect the entire picture of what is happening with COVID-19. She also explained that so much surrounding the virus is still unknown. She then outlined what a virus is- how it is DNA/ RNA and uses human bodies as its apparatus. Viruses easily get into mucus membranes, which is why it is important for us to wash our hands and abstain from touching our faces. Vaccines can help enormously with stopping their spread.
She explained that there are many types of “coronaviruses,” and that their symptoms often include upper respiratory & GI troubles, a cough, and a fever, but that they can be unpredictable as a whole. They are carried by birds and mammals. COVID-19 tends to spare children, and, like all other illnesses, people who are most affected by catching it are older and immune-compromised individuals. It can have an incubation period of up to twenty-one days. If someone does catch it, it can take 8-10 days for them to recover, but some people will recover sooner and others longer. It’s also unclear how many people who catch it are asymptomatic, but studies have listed a range from 18-50%.
There’s a difference between “study numbers” and the numbers we are all seeing in the news. Studies are conducted in controlled settings, but the numbers we’re seeing in the news have so many variables that they are likely far from accurate. The death rate for the virus in the United States is very inaccurate because so many people who likely have COVID-19 aren’t able to get tested. While the number of people that have died is accurate, the number of people who have recovered without getting tested is far higher, making the death rate likely much lower than what’s been shown. The biggest danger with the illness isn’t that it’s very deadly (predicted death rate is under 3%), but that (in addition to economic and social devastation) so many people are getting sick at the same time and hospitals are being overwhelmed.
It’s incredibly important that people stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Don’t invite friends over and measure out six feet between you. It is fine to go to the grocery store, but make sure you try to keep your distance from other individuals, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands afterward. It might not be wise to go grocery shopping with children. Handling groceries, sending mail, and receiving packages are relatively low-risk for catching COVID-19- viruses don’t last long on surfaces, although it’s unclear exactly how long. Always follow CDC guidelines.
Lastly, there are many ways to help avoid emotional burnout. Focus on hopeful things, time spent with family, and moving your body. Reach out to help others, donate to food pantries, and donate your money to those who need it. Write letters and emails to loved ones. As Wendy’s friend told her, “now is the time to reach out with our hearts and not with our hands.”
We are so grateful Wendy for shared her knowledge and answered our questions. Thank you Wendy!