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I'm a COVID Doctor and Wish Everyone Knew This

Listen to this expert advice. It will save your life.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Doctor Honnie Spencer is on the frontlines in the war against COVID, working on the COVID floor of her hospital in North Carolina and seeing things you wouldn't believe but need to know. Here in this exclusive piece for ETNT Health, she shares the 7 salient points she wishes every American would know. Read on for each one—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

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The Number Seven Thing I Wish You Knew

Two exhausted and desperate surgeons.
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The physical, emotional, spiritual energy drain on the medical staff at all levels is astronomical. Once a patient with COVID pneumonia is admitted to the ICU, it becomes a race against time that only intensify with the complications that can occur including developing a coagulopathy with the potential loss of limbs, kidney failure, multi-organ failure that requires the expertise of multiple specialist including but not limited to critical care specialist, pulmonologist, infectious disease specialist, nephrologist, vascular surgeon, general surgeon, neurologist, endocrinologist, hematologist/oncologist, and cardiologist to name a few. In addition to the latter, there are ancillary staff including but not limited to respiratory therapists managing the ventilators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, ICU nurse, CNA, nutritionist, clinical pharmacist, and case managers. 

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The Number Six Thing I Wish You Knew

Female doctor or nurse trying to give shot or vaccine against virus to a scared patient.
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The vaccine cannot treat the active infection. Unfortunately, I see so many patients who regretted the decision to be vaccinated only to beg for it when their condition deteriorates.

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The Number Five Thing I Wish You Knew

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As a result of the increased LOS of patients with COVID including the wait for skilled nursing facility assignments, there are less available beds for new admissions to the hospital therefore most of the new admissions end up staying in the ER thereby causing longer wait times in the waiting room because there are no rooms for a basic evaluation. The average wait time in the ER is now 10-18 hours. 

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The Number Four Thing I Wish You Knew 

Family of elderly,senior woman,child girl are talking by maintain distancing,prevent infection of flu,Coronavirus,pandemic of Covid-19,people with prevention mask,maintain social distance for safety
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Most people, especially the elderly, require post hospitalization rehabilitation. This poses a high demand for skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers who provide these services. Since demand outweighs the supply, we have patients who have fully convalesced waiting to get bed acceptance for rehabilitation adding to the LOS in the hospital which now creates another problem or bottleneck (keep reading).

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The Number Three Thing I Wish You Knew 

Attentive doctor analyzing x ray of his patient
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The average length of stay once admitted to the hospital with COVID pneumonia is longer than the average length of stay for non-COVID pneumonia. For example in my neck of the woods, a typical LOS for mild disease is roughly around 7-10 days, moderate disease 10-14 severe disease greater than 14 days. 

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The Number Two Thing I Wish You Knew 

African American man in antiviral mask gesturing thumb up during coronavirus vaccination, approving of covid-19 immunization
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Individuals who are vaccinated typically are less likely to be hospitalized or succumb to the disease in comparison to an unvaccinated individual.

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The Number One Thing I Wish You Knew

Technician holding tube of blood test identified with the label Covid-19 DELTA Variant.
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How highly infective the Delta variant is and how unpredictable the complications vary among patients. Yes, many people can have no symptoms or cold-like symptoms but many, many others can have terrible issues that can ruin their lives even if they live through them. It could happen to you. Even normally fit and healthy people who consider their immune systems "strong" can get, for example, Long COVID, with fatigue, migraines and some 200+ other symptoms that may last a lifetime. 

Perhaps knowing these facts will help you make the right decision that will benefit you and your family during this pandemic. So the next time you are faced with the decision to wear or not wear a mask or to get vaccinated or not, review these salient points. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Honnie Spencer, MD
Dr. Honnie Spencer is a board-certified Family Physician and former attending and Affiliate Professor with CFM residency program/University of NC Chapel Hill. Read more about Honnie