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S2L’s Weekly COVID-19 update with Dr. Andrew Daigle 04/18/2020

Dr. Andrew Daigle is S2L Recovery's Medical Director and has practiced medicine for over thirty years, primarily in trauma and emergency medicine as well as palliative care. Dr. Daigle is also serving on the front lines of this COVID-19 pandemic in Hospital Emergency Departments in multiple counties. S2L is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation via telecommunications with Dr. Daigle.
Here is " Dr. Daigle's Weekly Update" for the S2L Team

Andrew Daigle, MD
April 18th

Are we seeing the curve flatten? In Tennessee and locally, it appears that the social distance and safe at home strategies are successful in lowering the total number of people infected. Because of that, fewer people are in the hospital and we are seeing fewer deaths from this virus. So far, locally our hospitals are not overwhelmed and our ICUs are not overflowing. Clearly we have been fortunate and we have learned from other cities that were devastated: New York, Detroit, New Orleans especially. But the wave has not peaked here yet.

The virus hasn’t changed. It is still VERY contagious, and still is leading to rapid deaths in about 2-4% of those who get it. We still don’t have a treatment we can rely on — hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have been used extensively and have not been shown to be the “magic bullet.” If anything, we are more aware of the rare but real side effect of “sudden death” from these drugs.

There is an antiviral drug (remdesivir) that is promising, and it worked somewhat well against SARS and Ebola. We are starting a phase 2 trial soon. Also, there are 78 vaccines in trial. (Typically, in other diseases, over 100 vaccines start out with the hope of having one ‘winner’. ) Although we can be hopeful for a ‘needle in the haystack’ discovery of the winner, the soonest we could see a vaccine is next year…

What is our best plan for saving lives? Continue what works! –> Social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds. Once we FINALLY get better access to testing, we can confirm who doesn’t have it and allow them to return to working in groups. AND when we identify someone who DOES have it, we can quarantine them until they are no longer contagious.

Those who have recovered are donating plasma (part of their whole blood) so that this ‘convalescent’ plasma can be tried to help those who are significantly sick from the disease. This treatment is sometimes effective but also carries risk of side effects.

This disease has changed life for EVERYONE ON THE PLANET! There was little choice for us as individuals and for us as humanity except how we chose to respond. We are forced to take advice from various sources, and to determine which advice is ‘wise counsel’ and which is counsel from ‘Job’s friends’.

We have been forced into close quarters with family, and for those in our residential addiction recovery program, new family. Thankfully, we have not seen the virus penetrate our S2L Recovery program. God is merciful, and the team and leadership for S2L Recovery are faithful and diligent. We remain blessed!

Once again, our God presents us with opportunities for dependence on Him. Yes, there are life or death possibilities every day for each of us, but this pandemic is a much more blatant and clear threat. Many people are grieving the death of a loved one. (now over 34 thousand US deaths from this disease — sudden deaths and unexpected and unplanned deaths)

I try to stay positive while remaining realistic. If and when time is short, what are your priorities? Past regrets are only useful for future plans to make the present the best it can be. As Christians, the best ‘present’ is based in our identity in Christ our savior. Know Him to better know yourself. Make the choice, depend on wise counsel, accept His mercy as you acknowledge your frailty AND your power through Him!

Andrew Daigle, MD