COVID-19 Lessons from Dr. Belo | Belo Medical Group

5 Things We Learned from Dr. Belo’s IG Live Discussion about COVID-19

By Ysabel Vitangcol on April 3, 2020

Seeing general news on TV regarding the COVID-19 crisis isn’t enough to answer our specific questions. Most importantly, it doesn’t exactly address what the situation is actually like on the front lines. That’s why earlier this afternoon, Dr. Belo went straight to an expert who’s had first-hand experience in fighting the crisis on the front lines, Dr. Guinevere “Gwen” Dy-Agra. She is the Director of the Institute of Pulmonary Medicine over at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Taguig. The quick discussion happened at 1 PM today on IG Live, where the doctors tailor their discussion to frequently asked questions about the pandemic. Here are our 5 main takeaways from Dr. Gwen’s answers:

1. Emergency rooms are separated for potential COVID-19 patients to avoid cross contamination.

“Most of the patients who come into the ER are really sick. We need to screen them if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and they eventually get admitted if they’re a little bit serious. If you go to St. Luke’s Global, and I assume other hospitals also, marami nang plastic barriers. They have zoned the ‘clean zone’ and the ‘COVID zone’ so that they don’t mix. The doctors who are treating in the COVID zone do not cross over to the non-COVID zone so that there’s no cross-contamination,” explains Dr. Gwen. “The same goes for the wards: You have a COVID ward, and you have a non-COVID ward.”

2. You can develop antibodies to the coronavirus, but it isn’t yet known if those antibodies guarantee lifetime immunity or immunity for the next time you get infected.

“There are already some kits, rapid test kits, you take a finger prick and we check if you developed an IGG or IGM. These are antibodies against the virus. But some of these need validation. There is no recommended kit that is really effective in screening such antibodies. We know that you do develop antibodies along the way, most of the time in 2 weeks of illness, but we don’t know when the antibody level would wane. We don’t know if you will get another bout, or whether it’s lifetime immunity or not. There are a lot of things we don’t know yet about COVID-19, unfortunately.”

3. The efficacy of Vitamin-C megadoses has yet to be determined.

“Vitamin C and zinc, we usually supplement our patients because when there’s an infection, your level of zinc goes down, and it’s part of our defense. Also vitamin D; sometimes our vitamin D levels are down and we get a bad infection. Especially those who cannot eat, parang ilang days na silang without appetite, and we hardly get under the sun because of the quarantine, so medyo nutritionally depleted tayo. But for mega doses, wala pang data. In Italy, they even advocate giving 25 grams (not milligrams) of Vitamin C. But there’s no evidence that would [prove the benefit].”

4. Alcohol is effective for cleaning your devices, but you have to do it often.

“Alcohol is enough. It kills most of the viruses, pero mas short-acting siya. That’s why you need to do it periodically. For surfaces in the home, I would recommend diluted bleach to clean the surfaces.”

5. Staying home isn’t only for you and your family; it’s also to prevent immunocompromised people in your community from contracting it. The sooner we contain it, the sooner community quarantine ends.

“The virus is highly contagious. The manifestation ranges from no symptoms at all, to those that get hospitalized and even die. Those highly contagious—like me, I’m a healthcare worker—I might have gotten it, but I don’t manifest symptoms. If I go out and mingle with others, I might be carrying the virus. We might be feeling strong and healthy, and yet we’re carrying it.”

As we navigate this global pandemic, it’s important to stay informed. Get your information only from experts and verified news sources, and remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry. We hope you and your families are safe during this trying time, Belo Beauties. 

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