As physicians within the community, we feel it our duty to share our perspective and some thoughts relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ohio has gradually been reopening and allowing more interaction and business over the past weeks. The number of cases has thankfully been low, and we hope that with the right precautions and adherence to local guidance it will remain that way.
Despite this return of activity, the pandemic is far from over. It is still a time of high risk and uncertainty. The virus is still present amongst us and limited exposure can create the possibility of an outbreak. We are still in a vulnerable state as most people do not have any protection in the form of antibodies or prior exposure to Coronavirus. While we are thankful that there were limited cases of Coronavirus within our community, the lack of immunity creates a potential for a larger scale outbreak, both in our community and in Ohio. In relation to outdoor gatherings, it is important to keep in mind that masks only offer protection if everyone is wearing one properly, covering both one’s nose and mouth. However, wearing a mask does not alone provide adequate protection and a minimum 6-foot distance must be maintained at all times.
It is of critical importance to note that medical research has shown that the greatest risk of transmission occurs when groups of people gather indoors for an extended period of time. Additionally, the prevalence of asymptomatic cases can create situations where the spread can happen rapidly and without warning. Even wearing a mask and standing 6 feet apart while indoors for an extended period poses a significant risk to all the individuals present and thus to the community at large. With the gradual opening up in our communities, these factors must be taken into consideration to prevent an outbreak.
As medical professionals we feel it is very important for every individual to consider these facts, ensure appropriate precautions are taken, and make an educated decision regarding the health and safety of our community as we go into the holiday and summer period. In addition, we strongly advise anyone over the age of 65 and anyone with a chronic medical condition to consult with their physician regarding any special precautions they should be taking.