EDIT: Thank you all for your thoughtful questions! I learned a lot from you all. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get to all of the questions. I hope that what I was able to get to, at least, was helpful. I'll continue to post my COVID-19 TV clips on Instagram and commentary on Twitter. Stay safe - remember, the best advocate for you, is you.

Hi Reddit - Dr. Murtaza Akhter aka “the angry doctor” here to answer your questions about COVID-19. I’m an ER doctor in Arizona and see the worst of the pandemic every day. I can talk candidly about my experiences in Arizona hospitals, share proper safety protocols and tips, and dispel some popular myths. Or just rant about America’s disastrous response to COVID-19.

Recently, I went on CNN to tell the people violating social distancing rules that even kindergarteners have more empathy than they do. I’ve also been interviewed by Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow.

Ask me anything!

Comments: 2713 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

MaxOsi1395 karma

What’s your take on K-12 schools reopening in the fall?

Edit: ... and what do you perceive would be the impact on hospitals, etc...

Edit2: His other reply so you don’t have to search

dr-akhter1099 karma

just answered this question on another poster's question, in terms of my thoughts. as for hospitals, clearly the pediatric EDs will see more patients. the real fear is, how much of it will spread to adults? perhaps not much, as the AAP is suggesting, but hard to know, in my opinion. at the very least, there'd be more cases coming to the hospital. again, see my response to another post who asked similar

dr-akhter1349 karma

btw, since this one is 'trending,' copying and pasting my response that i gave elsewhere:

This is a tough one. I was initially surprised when the AAP recommended going back to school. I had to read up on the literature, and it seems like what they’re using as support is that there haven’t been large outbreaks in other countries due to school classrooms. Seems like, at least for COVID, kids aren’t as big a vector as we feared. MY fear is that we’re using other countries’ data, despite the fact that CLEARLY other countries are better about following customs of distancing and masks. And we KNOW that reason the common cold and the flu spread so virulently during the ‘winter’ is bc kids are in school. So much so that, in fact, in the summer in Arizona – when people are MORE likely to be indoors rather than during our winters – our flu season is STILL during the ‘winter.’ Kids pass it to adults, people travel, and then it spreads in Arizona about a month after flu season everywhere else. So, is COVID miraculously different? Perhaps. And even if it isn’t, I suppose if ONLY kids get it, they do seem to be very resilient. But how will you prevent kids from seeing elderly people? Or immunocompromised people? Those people can get extremely sick. And, as my wife mentioned (she’s a teacher, and was at Title I schools), how about the kids who clearly live with their grandparents b/c their families are poor? Are we neglecting the inability of poor people (and don’t forget the racial implications) to distance so that we can send more well off (and whiter) kids to school? Those are my fears. Again, there are data suggesting that schools may not be massive outbreak centers. But those data seem to contradict everything else we’ve seen from other virii - and they come from other countries as of now. If everyone could distance, school would probably be ok. But that’s a big if – people aren’t distancing even now, and sheriffs are going so far as to say they won’t enforce any rules governors place. So ridiculous.

dr-akhter106 karma

oops. i didn't know someone had linked to that response. wow, Reddit is amazing!

dr-akhter830 karma

Hi, all, thanks for joining, and thanks for the questions. In full disclosure, I am quite new to Reddit, so apologies for any faux pas (apparently the singular is the same as the plural!). Also, just being honest, but I've been on TV mainly because Arizona is terrible right now, and I've been honest about it on air - not because I have mad medical skills that are better than anyone else's. I mention this because I know Reddit users are particularly smart, and I look forward to the questions, but not everything I say is necessarily gospel (which is tough for someone with an ego like I have to admit). I will try to answer now ...

UneducatedPerson975 karma

I know Reddit users are particularly smart

No, I don't think so.

ChuckinTheCarma949 karma

One thing is true: He is, indeed, new to Reddit.

dr-akhter783 karma

i laughed my arse off at this, and gave it my first-ever Reddit upvote

GirlMeetsFood512 karma

How is morale among healthcare workers? Do you feel protected and well supported?

dr-akhter661 karma

I feel lucky because I’m at a teaching program. The residents I work with are phenomenal. Super positive, super energetic. And med students just came back yesterday for the first time, and they somehow are even more excited. So, despite my feeling sometimes like what I’m doing is futile, these people give me a lot of energy. But I don’t know what it’s like to be working solo, or with a couple of colleagues, and then go home and realize that so many other people are pretending that this pandemic isn’t real. I’ve definitely had moments where I felt demoralized; so far, I’ve been lucky to at least be surrounded by people who keep my energy up. But we’re all human …

midazdrip322 karma

Hey Dr Akhter! What’s something you wish was more emphasized in hospitals that’s seems to be overlooked?

dr-akhter802 karma

Hospitals are very focused on TREATING and not as much on PREVENTING. This isn’t anything new in the US. But it would be really great if we could teach people how to wash hands. Even doctors could get better at hand hygiene, if I’m being honest. Add to that teaching people about masks and distancing, rather than just saying, "stay apart from people," and that could potentially go a long way

peekay1ne215 karma

Yes. My aunt is a courier and a couple of months ago when everything was shut down she said “I’m supposed to wash my hands. But, where???”

dr-akhter320 karma

Yup. People used to love hating on hand sanitizer, as if it were somehow creating mutant aliens everywhere. Now you can’t find the stuff. Yes, hand washing is ideal, if done the right way (which is rare in and of itself). But alcohol sanitizer is REALLY great at killing germs. Don’t have to use it constantly, but definitely before eating or drinking – and especially before touching one’s face

TPRScooby313 karma

Is there any hope for our state?

dr-akhter902 karma

I think things are dire. The Governor is holding a press conference today. Rumor has it that he may impose a lockdown. It’s sad that people need to be “forced” to stay home, because they refuse to listen to what experts are saying. There are some things that we do a great job of – we have stopped smoking in public, we pull over for ambulances – all these things we do just to be reasonable members of society (not out of fear of punishment). But distancing and wearing masks hasn’t gotten there yet, and maybe we need executive orders until it becomes more of a social custom. So, the hope is that we do so many other things well. But in the acute setting, RIGHT NOW, I’m quite concerned about what the next couple weeks are bringing, to put it mildly

GrandmaTITMilk308 karma

Even if a lockdown is put in place, people still ignore it. I'm in Florida and the amount of non-mask wearing people in grocery stores is astounding. I was picking up some take out the other day and a police officer was in line with no mask on. Even though it says on the door entering the establishment that you need a mask to enter. The Governor can put all these rules in place but no one is enforcing them which is the problem.

dr-akhter283 karma

completely agree. even democrat politicians have said they won't actually enforce. what kind of message does that send? (but they get to skate by, i guess b/c they're Dems). imagine telling me i should pay taxes, but no one will be enforcing it. who would pay their taxes?!

AlwaysGoToTheTruck242 karma

Thank you for your anger. It resonated with me haha

Do we know how long COVID-19 lives outside the body?

dr-akhter365 karma

You’ll see memes about different times for different surfaces, but, logically, the virus needs a host to live. Many experts say they leave things out for a day, and assume that after a day, the germs aren’t as virulent. I try to do a couple days, and sometimes leave items in the car to really bake in the Arizona heat. But remember, the most important thing is to keep your mucous membranes safe – that is to say, wash your hands before you put something in your mouth! Don’t shake hands and then rub your nose! Your nose can wait! If people did hand hygiene well, almost wouldn’t matter how long COVID lasts outside the body …

STEZN208 karma

I go play disc golf and hike alone everyday. Yesterday there was people on the trails with masks on and a person even told me I need to wear my mask. Is that really necessary if I’m outside and not within 100 feet of people? I just figured I didn’t need it while secluded from others.

dr-akhter273 karma

lot of the responses here seem to have covered it. i just want to say, i wish everyone played disc golf and stayed 100 feet away from each other, because then the virus would be dead. alas ...

MADE_WITH_REAL_LEMON179 karma

How long can someone be asymptomatic for but still carry and spread it? Weeks, months?

dr-akhter314 karma

Great question. It’s not an exact hard science. And it’s something I have to answer for patients. You all have heard 14 days – that is because we think within 14 days, people who are sick will “declare” themselves, as in, exhibit symptoms. The most contagious part – for someone who is sick – is the first few days of the virus, but that doesn’t mean that they suddenly stop being contagious after that! CDC guideline is that isolate for at least three days after symptoms resolve. Keep in mind, ACTUAL resolution of symptoms takes quite a while. Then three days of symptom-FREE isolation, and then can stop being quarantining (but still need to distance, as always!)

buildingbridges173 karma

What do you think about states essentially forcing teachers and students back into the classroom in the fall and what (it any) do you think the impact on public health will be?

dr-akhter683 karma

This is a tough one. I was initially surprised when the AAP recommended going back to school. I had to read up on the literature, and it seems like what they’re using as support is that there haven’t been large outbreaks in other countries due to school classrooms. Seems like, at least for COVID, kids aren’t as big a vector as we feared. MY fear is that we’re using other countries’ data, despite the fact that CLEARLY other countries are better about following customs of distancing and masks. And we KNOW that reason the common cold and the flu spread so virulently during the ‘winter’ is bc kids are in school. So much so that, in fact, in the summer in Arizona – when people are MORE likely to be indoors rather than during our winters – our flu season is STILL during the ‘winter.’ Kids pass it to adults, people travel, and then it spreads in Arizona about a month after flu season everywhere else. So, is COVID miraculously different? Perhaps. And even if it isn’t, I suppose if ONLY kids get it, they do seem to be very resilient. But how will you prevent kids from seeing elderly people? Or immunocompromised people? Those people can get extremely sick. And, as my wife mentioned (she’s a teacher, and was at Title I schools), how about the kids who clearly live with their grandparents b/c their families are poor? Are we neglecting the inability of poor people (and don’t forget the racial implications) to distance so that we can send more well off (and whiter) kids to school? Those are my fears. Again, there are data suggesting that schools may not be massive outbreak centers. But those data seem to contradict everything else we’ve seen from other virii - and they come from other countries as of now. If everyone could distance, school would probably be ok. But that’s a big if – people aren’t distancing even now, and sheriffs are going so far as to say they won’t enforce any rules governors place. So ridiculous.

Sploogeyboi149 karma

Heyo. What can the rest of the world expect if lots of americans keep treating covid like a political opinion rather than an actual pandemic?

dr-akhter368 karma

They can expect us to get p0wned, which is exactly what’s happening. Imagine being an enemy of America, and seeing what’s happening, and realize, “Wow, we didn’t even have to do anything, we let their own idiocy handle them.”

chapstickninja146 karma

I live in Florida and work for a very conservative business. The owners are morally against the idea of working from home, even if your job can be done remotely. Do you think there is anything science based that can break through to people, to convince them that home is the safest work environment? They have put some measures in place but a few people have already tested positive.

dr-akhter514 karma

Not to sound flippant – I mean this earnestly – if science could convince people, I wouldn’t be getting called by networks to yell at people on air. And even then, I’m in an echo chamber. As Holy Scripture says, they have eyes but they do not see and they have ears but they do not hear. How's that for conservative?

WeAreAllinIt2WinIt129 karma

At the beginning there was a lot of conflicting information on masks and the pandemic in general. In the US we were originally told they did not help common folks and should be left for the medical personal (I believe this was said by the Surgeon General). After the travel ban for china, politicians held rallies out in our streets (SF) to claiming it was a racist move. In early march the mayor of NYC tweeted that it was perfectly safe and to go out to the movies. And of course we have trump running on about how it isn't bad, the economy is more important, and it will go away by itself. Now where I live the bars, clubs, and casinos are are full and many people are not wearing masks. Do you believe this attitude we Americans seem to have is due to misinformation at the beginning from our politicians or rather it has more to do with the cultural we have developed over the years?

dr-akhter152 karma

This is a great question, and my doctor friends and I discuss this all the time. I almost wish there were a prediction market for masks/distancing/etc. We know people are more honest/accurate when they put their money on the line. Things are polarized needlessly (when did science become polarized this much??), but imagine if people had to ‘bet’ on whether masks worked or not. I bet you (no pun intended) that the odds would heavily favor that masks help. Easy to get ‘outraged’ and admittedly maybe that’s even why I’m on air – the media seems to love that crap – sbut when you put your own money on the line, which stock are you going to bet on? Even the idiots spouting conspiracy theories would be tempered on the prediction markets …

ChibiRay94 karma

Hi, is it true that the number of covid related deaths might be higher than reported because people who died from covid symptoms, that were not tested, are not tested after death? This would result in not being counted as a covid death but just as something general like death from pneumonia.

dr-akhter227 karma

The number of COVID deaths is almost definitely higher than reported. Recent publication showed that, compared to previous years around this time, we have a 28% increase in deaths relative to even what the COVID deaths report. Some of these could have died from ‘indirect’ effects – for example, someone had chest pain but was scared of COVID, so delayed getting help for his/her heart attack – but many of these are probably COVID directly, and we just don’t know. All of it is relevant, though – whether direct or indirect, clearly lots of people have died compared to when we didn’t have COVID. Will be interesting to see if we can get these data from other countries. I’m sure many of you heard about the urns that were being shipped to China, and how they were dramatically higher than the reported COVID deaths. There were also many millions of cell phone subscriptions that were canceled. Sometimes we have to use alternate metrics to see what the death toll really is … in that sense, as horrible as the United States are doing, there are probably plenty of others as well, and they might not be reporting it as well (whether intentionally, or because they don’t have the ability do)

JenaboH85 karma

I'm an elementary art teacher, I've heard that school will pretty much be the same. What advice can you give me for teaching about 130 different kids each day, back to back, no break in between? Art--shared supplies...update... traveling art on a cart

--what procedures should I use to make sure I don't spread the virus to my family or other students. My spouse is immunocompromised, stage 4 melanoma. I have an 8 yo, he's going to stay home for online school. My county currently has almost 600 active cases. We were down to about 10, back in May.

Edit:. Thank you Reddit-Stranger for popping my reddit gold cherry.

Edit: update

dr-akhter145 karma

I’m so sorry. Stage 4 melanoma is terrible; my condolences to you and your family. You’re in a tough spot – anybody who says otherwise isn’t worth talking to again, in my opinion. Kids spread infections, and they did so well before COVID. The kids themselves, statistically, will be ok – but your bringing back the virus to your husband would be horrible. And I don’t think it’s very realistic to think that you can appropriately distance yourself from every kid in school. Which basically means you’d have to distance yourself from your family, if you decided to go to work. Horrible choice to have to make – I’m so sorry. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just test every child and faculty member before letting him/her enter school? And do repeat testing every few days? We can send drones thousands of miles away with pinpoint accuracy, but we can’t swab people; what a world. The vice president's wife is an art teacher, too; you'd think that would help the cause, but apparently not. My condolences again.

shaokim85 karma

What's the worst thing you saw that Covid did to an otherwise healthy, young person?

dr-akhter110 karma

i've seen them decompensate, lost oxygen saturation, and need ICU. we've had young ones die in our ICU. people without any past medical history. jimmy flores talks about this openly on air (i've been on pieces with him or in response to him).

jgoohu69 karma

I heard (not necessarily from a reliable source) that when someone gets the virus and recovers they can develop antibodies to that particular strand of virus. How does developing antibodies relate to a persons chances of getting infected again?

dr-akhter184 karma

It hasn't been proven that having antibodies makes one immune to covid. And definitely hasn't been proven that one can’t still spread the disease. Think of it this way – we get pediatric patients who get sick with “the cold” REPEATEDLY. They pass it to their siblings, then their siblings pass it back to them, ad nauseum. Where are their antibodies?! So clearly if people can repeatedly catch other viruses/virii, why do we think COVID will be all that different? Maybe it will be, maybe, but I wouldn’t bank on that, and especially not during a deadly pandemic

tony_fappott67 karma

How do you deal with conspiracy theorists? I assume it's not even worth it engaging with these lunatics.

dr-akhter192 karma

Correct. I see enough psychotic patients in the ER. I don’t need to deal with lunatics outside the hospital also

SnapperMaster66 karma

What counter-arguments can be made for people who refuse to wear masks? They argue inhaling carbon dioxide is dangerous to their health and eating healthy is enough protection against COVID.

dr-akhter237 karma

How can you argue with people who won’t even believe the stupid entertainment they watch (clearly they won’t ever listen to scientists or physicians)? We doctors make fun of TV shows all the time for misrepresenting what happens in the hospital. And yet, have you ever seen a single medical show in which the surgeon isn’t wearing a mask? That literally NEVER happens, even on TV – a platform that often misrepresents how it actually works. Even Hollywood gets this right. Surgeons were masks for HOURS and HOURS. They’re not falling to the floor dying! I don’t know of a single person with a mask complication – and I’ve been doing this sh*t for years!!!!!

1600cc61 karma

Your name is Doctor Akhter, and that's pretty awesome.

Do you ever go by Doc Akh?

dr-akhter109 karma

Not of my own volition, but people definitely call me that. Hopefully I get to meet Peter Parker some day …

wehrmann_tx54 karma

Are you taking any supplements to lessen your risk/lessen symptoms if you do get sick?

dr-akhter131 karma

I take honey every morning, but I’ve been doing that since I was in junior high. For me, it has worked wonders. And my throat feels much better with it than without. Interestingly, even medicines these days are placing honey inside, so maybe there’s something to this “Biblical” food. But, this is just for me; and like I said, I do it regardless of COVID.

greenhouse539 karma

Do people that take antiviral medicines like PREP have better outcomes if they contract Covid 19? Thank you for all you are doing!

dr-akhter72 karma

PrEP has had significant effects on HIV transmission. If there were a similar cocktail for COVID, it could be intriguing. But we aren't there yet. And remember, the coronavirus works differently from the HIV retrovirus. As a researcher (as well as a physician), I am fascinating by this question and wonder if there may be some benefit we didn't know about, though there could also be harm we don't know about. Short answer - I wouldn't recommend people take HIV PrEP "just to see," but could be interesting to analyze these data for those who are currently on it ...

EvergreenHulk39 karma

Isn’t it awesome that we wasted the initial shut down? Maybe we should have just skipped that one as well.

dr-akhter124 karma

I myself am surprised that we did so well with the initial shutdown, yet did so poorly afterwards. As I’ve said on air, we treated it like a bad relationship – and after the “dump,” decided to “rebound.” Literally people went to clubs and started grinding. To go from doing so well to so poorly is emblematic America. The rest of the world looks at the presidents we pick and is shocked that our opinions change so much every four years. Whatever your political views, it really is fascinating to go from W to Obama to DT. So, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising we went from doing a good job distancing to doing a horrible job with it. Very American to “get bored” and do the exact opposite next …

CelticSpoonie37 karma

Hi Doc,

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

There's been some conflicting information about who qualifies as "high risk"; for instance, initially asthmatics were considered high risk, but there have been recent articles suggesting asthma may not play as big of a risk. Are there updated/ more current guidelines regarding what can make a person "high risk"?

Also, it appears that COVID is leading to blood clot formation. Do you have any information as to how this would impact individuals with clotting disorders?

Thanks!

dr-akhter48 karma

Great questions, wow. Clearly you’re well-versed in what’s out there.

Let’s put it this way – asthma sucks. COVID sucks. And given nebulizer treatments aerosolizes particles. We have to keep either of these patients in isolated rooms (of which we have only so many). Even if they stay home, I tell patients taking nebs (or inhalers) to isolate in a room from all family so they don’t spread their breathing treatments everywhere. So, regardless of whether asthma leads to worse SARS-CoV2 or not, the management for someone with asthma who does have it becomes complicated, to put it mildly. Furthermore, at least historically, patients who have asthma or COPD who get an infection do need more respiratory support. Perhaps COVID is different, but even the diagnostic dilemma – is this “just her asthma” or “is this an infection” still remains, as it always has for us. So, you take the diagnostic challenges, along with the fact that for other respiratory diseases, having asthma makes it worse, along with the fact that treating asthma patients who have COVID is complicated, and I would say there’s enough there that makes asthma patients ‘higher risk,’ depending on how you define risk.

As for clots, yes, seems like it causes more thrombi. In some sense, that’s not super surprising, as inflammatory processes do do that. So far, it doesn’t seem like empiric anticoagulation is the way to go, but it is something that has been discussed and continues to be investigated. For someone who already has a clotting disorder (for example, pulmonary embolism), presumably that person is already on anticoagulation.

By the way, distinguishing an asthma attack from a pulmonary embolism can already be difficult sometimes. Now throw in COVID. Not a good mix.

BreannaAssworth32 karma

When do you think this will all be over?

dr-akhter131 karma

I have been wrong about this countless times. I thought my wife and I would be able to travel Europe this summer (this, after we canceled our April plans). Who would’ve guessed Europe would ban us? All the experts say it’s going to be here until next year. I’m stocking up on Oreos …

midazdrip32 karma

If you were confirmed IgG antibody positive from a lab you trust, what PPE would you wear?

dr-akhter118 karma

all of it. it hasn't been proven that having antibodies makes one immune to covid. and definitely hasn't been proven that one can't spread the disease. so i would wear all PPE

hanikamiya26 karma

Do you have any personal anecdotes about how people reacted when they "don't believe in the virus" and either themselves or somebody close to them got sick enough to need hospitalisation?

dr-akhter129 karma

Oh definitely. Had a guy who needed to be admitted – for an alternate cause, actually – and refused a COVID test (we do covid tests for all admits so we know to place people in covid vs. non-covid unit). Patient refused test b/c he thought it was a conspiracy to track people. We told him if he refuses, he’ll have to get placed in the COVID unit, and does he want that? He said that if he contracts COVID, he’ll sue us. How can you not believe in COVID on one hand, but on the other, say you’ll sue if you contract it? So ridiculous.

funneh_username24 karma

Hello Dr,

My dad recently had a heart attack and subsequently open heart surgery here in AZ. My family wasn’t allow to visit him at all while he was in there, which sucks but I understand why. Which brings me to my question, my wife is currently pregnant, and we are expecting the baby to be here in Feb/March 2021. With the current rules and regulations for visitors, would I even be allowed to be there when my child is born?

dr-akhter26 karma

agree with other responses. very hospital-dependent. we know plenty of people who have even be separated from the very child they just gave birth to, forget visitors. but feb/march could be different. we hold out hope. maazel tov. i wish you and your family (including your child to be) the best.

koma7723 karma

In Sweden we are not recommended to wear a mask because it could give the bearer a false sense of security, and people who are not educated will handle the mask in a bad way. What is your opinion on that?

dr-akhter99 karma

I’m not Swedish, but I know this – the rest of Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Denmark) had strict guidelines imposed. Sweden was more lax. Guess where the cases and deaths are the highest …

dr-akhter81 karma

By the way, not very easy to do these ‘studies’ here. You could argue that Texans die more than Bostonians not b/c of rules, but bc Texans are fatter. That’s not exactly true, but point being, comparisons can be difficult. Except in Scandinavia, where everyone is the same. I know this sounds political, but they are a very homogenous group of people, and they are VERY strict on letting immigrants in (especially people like me). It does make for easier data conclusions, though, because if the people across countries are similar (racially, obesity levels, etc.), then presumably the only difference is the policies that were enacted to fight the coronavirus – and it therefore clearly shows the roles of distancing and of masks

CaliforniaMntnSnake18 karma

If you’ve already had Covid, should you still continue to wear a mask?

dr-akhter50 karma

without a doubt, yes

bothsidesnow17 karma

Do you think this crisis is worse than Malaria in Africa?

dr-akhter113 karma

No. There are plenty of worse diseases. The “right wing” is right about this. What’s hypocritical is that they clearly don’t care about those diseases. We, as a society, have determined that we don’t care about colored kids in other countries dying – even though it literally costs cents (CENTS!) to save them. What’s different about COVID is that it kills rich white people. That’s not a political statement – it really does kill white people too. So, we are focused on COVID, and if we can bring down the number of people who get ill, we might accidentally help our Blacks and Hispanics too. Therefore, a cause worth fighting for – because we clearly don’t seem to care about the other global health issues anyway.

GangsterFap16 karma

Should organized sports be pushing so hard to get going again?

dr-akhter96 karma

I do traumatic brain injury research, so I think no one should be playing tackle football ever, forget during a pandemic. Perhaps that makes me a biased responder …

berdiesan14 karma

In your opinion, are the cloth masks that have a pocket for a paper filter of some kind better than the plain cloth masks?

dr-akhter30 karma

The more layers the better. I don’t know about filters within cloth masks (I am always in either a surgical mask or an N95, but I’m also a healthcare professional so it’s a bit different), but in general, more layers = better. Of course, the tightness of seal is very important also! And, please please please clean your hands before and after managing the mask. Don’t want to infect yourself with your own hands while putting on a mask – this is critical.

victoryposition12 karma

Keep seeing hydroxychloroqin being used by world leaders (US/Brazil) but the scientific community says it's ineffective. Does it help or not?

dr-akhter58 karma

We need randomized control trials to know. Otherwise, there are too many confounders (too much bias) to know definitively either way. Either way, scientists need to discover the answer, not some random politician. Also, I have a great treatment already – masks. I know it’s very American to not bother with prevention, and try to treat after the fact, but there is literally not a single medication in the world I know of that is as effective as prevention. Distancing is awesome, and masks if that’s not possible. Way way way way way better than any drug we will ever come up with for COVID.

Cade_Connelly_1311 karma

What's your treatment for patients who lost their home/savings/business due to lockdown?

dr-akhter20 karma

We really need a system that takes care of people who have to distance/not work. If distancing causes one to LOSE money, of course they’re going to have trouble doing so. Honestly, if we could isolate the elderly and the immunocompromised, we could probably do pretty great. But we don’t have a system for that – for making sure those people have places to live, are fed, etc. If we could just do that, then younger healthy adults could go to work and such. ALMOST be normal, even. Seems like such a simple fix, and yet there’s no motivation to do it. So now we’re ALL told we have to isolate. Sucks for everyone, truly. We spend massive amounts of money on ridiculous things, but we can’t spend a little bit to feed our elderly?

zytz10 karma

While dealing with this sort of crisis, have you come across any situations where you found your hospital's EMR system to be either particularly helpful, or particularly problematic? Is there anything you can think of that your EMR could do for you to better serve clinicians on the front lines?

dr-akhter17 karma

Our EMR has somehow integrated COVID tests from throughout the valley – so it flags us when we go into a patient chart even if the test was done at an outside facility. Pretty awesome!

TheTrueLordHumungous9 karma

One more question: how can any health care professional say with a straight face that recent protests have nothing to do with the rise in positive cases?

dr-akhter10 karma

has someone said that with a straight face? would be a bold statement. data suggest other gatherings are worse, but has anyone said protesting didn't cause a single increase? that would be kind of preposterous ...

degan78 karma

Say I want to go see friends or family, what is the best way to handle this in terms of precautions? (Aside from the obvious don't do it)

lavidalilly12 karma

Probably the safer thing is to meet somewhere outdoors, have everyone wear a mask, sit spaced out and limit close contact (i.e hugs, hand shakes and etc).

dr-akhter7 karma

agree with all this. if have to be around people, stay at a distance, and wear masks. it'll make it seem like, "what's the point?", but if you're not thinking, "what's the point," you're not standing far enough away ...

Topazz4103 karma

How so you feel about colleges reopening, would that not be just a group of adults, a covid powder keg?

dr-akhter2 karma

Indeed, a powder keg. I mean, basically the whole Clemson football team has COVID. If they stay “in the bubble,” then I reckon it might go ok. But my college days suggest it’s not exactly a bubble. Oh, and by the way, would they teach themselves? Because their older professors are clearly at risk. Part of me wonders if this will revamp higher education – especially for the schools that charge exorbitant rates despite not even necessarily being ranked that high. Healthcare and Education seem to have beaten standard ‘market forces’ somehow. But, anyway, “staying in my lane,” clearly college campuses will spread disease (they have spread plenty others), but if ONLY college age kids get it, then overall mortality probably wouldn’t be so bad. They just have to say Goodbye to their older loved ones for a year (but I suppose for some, that’s the point of college), and somehow not run into any immunocompromised people on campus, either …