Dr. Brownstein: Politicians Making Big Decisions Based on Fear and not Based on Data

Coronavirus XII: There Is Good News

by David Brownstein, M.D.

I was at Costco yesterday and did NOT enjoy my experience. The tension was palpable everywhere. (Note: This had nothing to do with Costco.) There were shoppers wearing N95 masks. That irritated me. The masks are in short supply for front-line health care workers and there is simply no reason to wear that at Costco. COVID is not passed that easily through the air.

Folks, the fear level out there is beyond reason. Unfortunately, my Governor and the rest of our lawmakers, including those in Washington, are making big decisions based on fear and not based on data. As I have been writing to you, the data is out there that COVID-19 is serious but only to a small percentage of our population—when all is said and done, less than 1%.

Could I be wrong? Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time. But, I have learned to do my own research and trust myself with the conclusions I come to. I utilize my research and my practical experience in order to make an appropriate decision about how to treat my patients or how to approach this COVID-19 pandemic.

I have been practicing medicine for over 25 years. During that time I have become a much better physician than I was at the beginning (at least I hope so). In medical school you learn far too many things that have no relevance in the real practice of medicine. Only when you get out in the real world does the real teaching begin. But, medical school did teach me important tools to become a competent physician.

One of the main things I was taught in medical school was to observe my patients. That was an important lesson. I observe how they look, walk, sound, and act. And, I observe recurring patterns with respect to diseases.

I have found it useful to observe disease patterns since many diseases consistently appear and disappear according to the calendar. One pattern that consistently repeats itself is that the flu season (for most) seems to start around the winter solstice (December 20-23) and ends around the spring equinox (March 19-21). This year the spring equinox was on March 20, 2020.

I have seen the reports that COVID-19 may be going on for up to 18 months. Some commentators are saying that we need to quarantine for at least six months to a year to get rid of it.


Look at the following chart from the CDC that summarizes the peak month of flu activity from 1982-2018:

You can see the season starts in October and November with low numbers, peaks in January and February and begins to decline in March. The peak month of activity can change between the months of January, February and March. Keep in mind, this chart is an average of the activity between 1982-2018.


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