ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – More than 100 thousand people have died from the coronavirus pandemic around the world.
New models now predict that we’re just days away from reaching a peak in the U.S., and here in Georgia, that could be as early as April 20th.
Atlanta Bureau Chief, Archith Seshadri, spoke to an infectious disease expert at Emory University Hospital on what to expect, and if our precautions are working.
“Many models predict that GA could it hits it peak in the next few weeks.
That’s why state leaders want you to stay at home, practice social distancing and help flatten that curve because otherwise the state’s hospitals would be inundated and wouldn’t be able to influx the of patients.”
Medical experts say social distancing is helping flatten the curve in Georgia.
“The models are going in the right direction – we are seeing less disease, less hospitalizations, and that’s the results of public health working.”
But doctors say — just like the stock market — there’s no way to predict how bad the peak could get here, especially in rural areas.
Dr. Carlos Del RioEmory University Hospital, Infectious Disease Expert “The virus can remain for a couple of minutes on surfaces – it remains the longest on metals, cardboard. I worry less about food containers but more about pizza boxes.”
Governor Kemp, “It’s good to have the models but I don’t full trust the models. We have other issues we are dealing with in our state that we need to build extra capacity like in our long term care facilities.”
“Flattening the curve is the #1 thing, we want to decrease transmission but we want to decrease hospital admission and the number of people needed for care in the ICU.”
Doctors say a shortage of beds and ventilators is not the only problem — if health care workers start to get sick, it could jeopardize patient treatment.
“We know from France, Italy, New York, that if you overwhelm hospitals, your mortality will go up.”
Emory doctors are trying new techniques — like flipping coronavirus patients on their back and side if they are on ventilators to help them breathe better.
“If you are able to do that and your mortality comes down especially for those on a ventilator. Here at Emory we are seeing a lower mortality than we are in Italy or France.”
Experts say before the country can be re-opened, more tests have to be readily available.
Emory doctors say that France’s mortality rate is about 10 percent while the U.S. it’s at 3 percent — that’s because France’s ICU’s are overwhelmed with patients and can’t handle the influx of cases.
The FDA has approved human clinical trials for Emory’s COVID-19 drug treatment
Through an oral tablet.