From Malcontentment Happy Hour, January 25, 2021
Social distancing doesn’t mean you never leave home and where is the flu
[SEATTLE] – (Malcontent News) Elise Barrett RN BSN CCRN is an oncology nursing supervisor at an elite cancer treatment center. She and her staff work with vulnerable patients who are at high-risk for catching COVID, and who could face catastrophic results if they caught the disease. As part of her job, Ms. Barrett has had access to some of the leading experts on epidemiology and COVID protocols, somethings she lives with every day in the care of her patients.
“What’s going on it’s definitely not a hoax,” Barrett stated. “I have many family members who live in areas where it is sort of considered a political opinion whether this exists or not, and unfortunately this weekend I discovered that my mother and her husband have COVID and are looking at potentially a pretty rocky course in the disease.”
Barrett spoke about some of the myths surround COVID-19 and one of her answers might surprise you. “The first myth is that you have to lock yourself in your house and never go outside and never interact with another human and be living in fear. That sort of creates a degree of tension and dread and almost fatalism that’s impossible to sustain.”
“Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of work done by experts in the field to tell us how we can interact with each other safely and how we can be out of our houses, and how to avoid catching the disease.” Barrett went on to recommend following social distancing guidelines and wearing a mask, but that avoiding all human interaction as a healthy adult can have negative impacts on your mental well being.
What about the effectiveness of masks? “Wearing what we call personal protective equipment (PPE) or masks in the nursing field [is] old news. We’ve been doing that forever. We know how effective it is but, that’s still a new concept for a lot of people. There’s a lot of fear around it for a lot of people because it is tied to this concept of being medical being rigid, being under a doctor’s care, [and] having to follow orders.”
Seasonal flu numbers around the world have been historically low. Some conspiracy theories have popped up that flu numbers are being rolled into COVID numbers. “The flu is less contagious than COVID so anything that stops the spread of COVID even a little is going to impact the spread of flu much more. We’ve actually seen a significant amount of flu in the community mostly among people who are still getting out and around and moving in the community. We’ve seen much lower prevalence in the older community that typically make up most of the casualties of the flu season.” Barrett went on to explain that the older community is more likely to socially isolate and vaccinate for flu, reducing their exposure further this season.
“If you’re wearing a mask during flu season you’re actually pretty well protected against flu. it’s not as easy to catch [and] it requires a much higher viral load.”
David Obelcz contributed to this story.
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