A number of hospitals around Metro Manila have already reached full capacity due to the influx of confirmed COVID-19 cases and patients under investigation. Health care workers are being stretched to the limit and beyond, with a number of them now COVID-19 patients themselves.
Dr. Daniel Luchangco, an emergency room physician at a city hospital, has called out to the private sector via Facebook:
"Thank you to everyone who has been supporting the frontlines with donations, messages of encouragement, and prayers. It is much appreciated and we could not do this without you. A lot of non-healthcare people message me every day to ask how they can help the healthcare workers. But please also know that if we are pouring resources into the hospitals, WE ARE FIGHTING ON A LOSING BATTLEFRONT.
"The healthcare system is ALREADY overwhelmed now with COVID patients, as you can see from the statements of major hospitals. More patients are pouring in on top of the existing ones. The best way to help the hospitals is to STEM THE TIDE OF NEW PEOPLE GETTING SICK and needing medical attention. The hospitals should be the last resort. WE CANNOT WIN THE BATTLE IN THE HOSPITALS. It should be fought on the streets, where you guys are.
"We need serious, no-joke QUARANTINE, in separate, dedicated facilities that are MANAGED according to recommendations (14 days, PUMs vs PUIs etc) and ENFORCED. There have to be no exceptions and no excuses, rich or poor.
"No visitors. No nonsense of needing to bring in their own beddings and TV and other comforts. The people there have to be FED so they don't have to go out to eat. Their basic needs should be taken care of and they should be prepared to have only that. It should come at no cost to the people being quarantined, but they should have no choice. I know this is not easy, but it IS simple. It has to be simple, or else it will not work.
"If you fit the criteria, in you go, period. You get out when you are allowed out. Everything will be provided to you."
Flatten the Curve
The doctor adds, "It will not be easy. It will take forces bigger than I can bring together to accomplish. It will take significant funds and coordination. It will not be easy. But consider the gain... We have all heard about the 14 days. We have heard about flattening the curve. If we can make sure that NOT A SINGLE PERSON gets infected for a period of two weeks, then we are left only with the people who already have the virus.
"In that span of two weeks, 80% of those people will recover on their own IN QUARANTINE FACILITIES for those that are mildly sick, monitored by a skeleton nursing staff. They can take Paracetamol on their own, and drink the lots of water that is provided to them. Then they will get well in two weeks.
"20% of the people who are elderly, or have Diabetes, or Asthma, or Cancer, and a few who don't have any of those will get very sick. We will care for them in the hospital. Of those people we care for in the hospital, some of them unfortunately will die. But most of them will recover. All of that will happen in the two weeks that no one new gets infected. Everyone who got the virus will either recover, or die. And WE WILL BE DONE WITH THIS NIGHTMARE. Of course we can't expect zero new infections. But we can cut that figure drastically to a level that can be handled in quarantine facilities and hospitals.
"It will not be easy. But I see a lot of people move a lot of resources every day to accomplish so much. I see a lot of idle resources. I see a lot of leaders in the community. The healthcare sector is up to its eyeballs coordinating and organizing to treat patients. We cannot do this also. It is not even something we are experienced at doing. I don't know how to do it. But I know it has to be done. If we do not get this done, we have everything to lose.
"We appreciate all the help you send us in the hospitals. Often the food you send is all we have to eat. The PPE you send protect us as supplies run low. We could not continue to work without it. We will continue to stand our ground and do our best to hold the fort and save the ones we can. But we cannot win this battle. We need YOU guys out there to win it. We need heroes who will organize accommodations, prepare food, do laundry, provide transportation to and from... things that some of you do on large scales every day. If you guys do not win the battle out on the streets, we can never win the battle in the hospitals."
*This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.
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