If the virus takes root in the US, you’ll want to avoid hospitals if possible.
Our hospital systems are already under stress. We have many fewer hospital beds now (~950,000) compared to 1975 (~1,400,000). An epidemic would overwhelm hospitals with both the worried and the sick. Perhaps as bad, these hospitals will become a significant source of infection themselves.
So today, I want to tell you about a useful insight from a study published in the English medical journal, The Lancet, a couple of weeks ago.
The study entitled “Therapeutic and triage strategies for 2019 novel coronavirus disease in fever clinics” answers an important question:
“If I’m feeling unwell, how do I know when to seek medical assistance because I might have the coronavirus?”
Researchers believe the coronavirus affects the lungs and our ability to absorb oxygen. In this study, they advise that if the patient is:
exhibiting chill, sore throat, or cough AND
Has a SpO2 level below 93,
The patient should be immediately isolated, put on oxygen, and tested for the virus.
Here’s the diagnostic flowchart from the study:
Fortunately, there is an easy way to test SpO2. All you need is one of these:
You can buy these on Amazon for around $20.
Is it necessary? I don’t know. But, I bought two of them after reading the study in mid-February. If you find yourself unwell at some point, checking your O2 saturation levels could be an excellent way to know if it’s time to seek medical care.