As we approach the six month mark of this pandemic, it’s important to reflect on where we were, where we are now, and where we hope to be soon. I have felt disbelief and disappointment at the lack of effective government response and the sad state of healthcare in the U.S. Some may say, “Hindsight is 20/20,” but it was clear from the beginning that to tackle an infectious disease, the response needed to be proactive.
The scientific community has learned a lot since the beginning. We’ve learned that wearing a mask is important, but wiping down groceries is not as necessary. It became clear that indoor social events and bars are high-risk venues for spread, and outdoor activities with social distancing measures are safer.
Today, most regions in the U.S. are seeing a decline in new cases. There are still massive testing delays, conflicting guidance from local and national governments, and a lot of uncertainty regarding school openings and travel. The limited national testing capacity is hindering efforts to identify infected individuals who are asymptomatic.
Despite these shortcomings, we cannot give up. Over 170,000 Americans have died so far, and we each have the ability to help prevent that number from climbing further. Wear masks when you are out in public, find safe ways to enjoy the end of summer, and stay strong. The stricter we all adhere to guidelines, the quicker the infection rate will fall, and the sooner we will be able to return safely to our normal lives.
Going forward, we have clear examples of what has worked in Europe and Asia to control the spread: frequent testing, government support for isolating those infected, universal mask wearing, and clear guidelines for bars, restaurants, schools, and other public places. There are a number of interesting developments like pooled testing for increased capacity and a vaccine on the horizon that will aid us in tackling this virus.
Forward continues to adapt to the pandemic and roll out features to support our members at home. We believe that telemedicine is more than a video call with your doctor. We are excited to push virtual care in a direction where telemedicine is a tool in a large ecosystem to better understand your health.
Dr. Nate Favini is Forward’s Medical Lead. In addition to comprehensive preventive and primary care, the company provides COVID-19 remote risk assessments, testing and ongoing care.