‘It Is Always Darkest Just Before Dawn’

Premier Pulse     November 2020

1780674952By Roberto Colón, MD, system vice president of quality and safety, Premier Health; associate chief medical officer, Miami Valley Hospital

Without a doubt, everyone is aware that we are in the most serious phase of this pandemic to date. Cases continue to rise everywhere, and hospitalizations for COVID are higher in Ohio than at any point this year. The driving force behind the rise continues to be social gatherings, even small ones, at moments where our protective measures are not being used properly.

We are heading into a very uncertain stretch of months as the current projections will have cases continue to rise until the latter part of December before slowing. On an almost daily basis, Ohio and many other parts of the United States are reaching daily records for new cases. This highlights the importance of doing what we can to help slow this down: wear your mask, maintain social distancing, and avoid gatherings even with friends. I know how difficult these steps can be for many of us with the holidays looming, but these strategies are currently the best weapons we have to slow down this virus and avoid overwhelming health care systems.

But our future is not all bleak. There are rays of hope just around the corner. Earlier this month, one of two monoclonal antibodies received Emergency Authorization for Use from the Food & Drug Administration. A second trial is also expected to receive approval in the near future. These therapies have been part of experimental trials and have offered some of the most convincing evidence for effectiveness in treating patients BEFORE they become severely ill. In addition, we are expecting that at least one vaccine will receive FDA approval soon and be available to start distribution before the end of the year. These two modalities could have the most impact in the outcomes of patients and long-term trajectory of this pandemic. Even when both of these are available, the need for masks, social distancing, and avoidance of gatherings will likely continue through next year. This is not a time to give in but rather to tighten up!

We have to be mindful! We have to be resilient! We have to be supportive of one another! We have to be resourceful! We have to be careful! We can and WILL get through this, but is it going to take all of us, together!

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