Hey Loyal Readers,
How about a convenient little app from Apple that will help you determine if you have a COVID 19? And the doc is going to answer your most pressing questions about COVID-19.
Apple has released a new app that helps those who are concerned they may have COVID-19. The app, called, Apple COVID-19, is free to download on the iOS App Store, and can also be accessed from a website.
The app is designed to screen users for their potential symptoms, and provides data and other resources about COVID-19.
The app was developed in conjunction with the Whitehouse, FEMA and the CDC. Not a bad deal!
Now nothing is perfect because at least 50% of COVID 19 patients are asymptomatic. And some patients may have odd symptoms with COVID 19 such as loss of taste/smell, diarrhea, heart failure or neurological symptoms.
But 90% of people with symptoms have fever. I actually tried it out and the questions are actually quite thorough.
A screenshot from the Apple COVID-19 app Apple
The test starts by asking about the most intense symptoms of COVID-19, and if you answer with a yes, you are prompted to immediately call 911. If not, the app then asks a bunch of questions to determine your best course of action. Along with how you feel, the app also asks basic questions regarding if you've traveled internationally, if you’ve been exposed recently or if you live in an area that has been impacted more heavily than others.
While Apple assured users that it will not be collecting personal information from users in any way, it will be recording data on usage to improve on the service. That said, you are never prompted to even enter a name, and the website can be used without logging into any account.
Yes, privacy is important and I’m glad the app respects that.
BTW, I’ve received a lot of questions about 2 topics:
1. Is Hydroxychloroquine dead in the water? Yes, it’s true that a VA trial showed that HDQ did not help but this trial was NOT a randomized controlled, double blinded study and it wasn’t peer reviewed either. To make matters worse, they gave HDQ and a Zpak after the patients were intubated and put on a ventilator. In my opinion, this drug needs time to work, and should be given earlier during treatment.
Dr. Didier, a noted French physician, found that HDQ and a Zpack showed 91% effectiveness in 1061 patients with this disease. And no side effects were seen.
Still, we need better studies. But currently, if I get the disease, I’m asking for HDQ and a Zpack early in treatment.
2. Give me that new antibody test so I can find out if I can go back to work. Right doc?
That’s a great idea and while the FDA has approved 3 antibody tests, we don’t understand the meaning. Reporters have even been complaining that there are not enough tests. But here’s the real problem:
The PCR tests looking for viral RNA are about 70% accurate in determining if you have COVID 19. So it misses some people either because it is early in the illness or the swab didn’t go far enough into the nose.
Now if the antibody test shows a positive outcome, does that mean you are immune? Sorry, but the answer is no. And if you are immune, how long does the protection last? We don’t know yet.
All these questions will be answered because trials are already being conducted.
3. I am 30 years old and live in Illinois. I have no risk factors. Can I go back to work?
Let me try to answer this question on a pure medical basis. If the governor does not allow us to return to work, then we have to abide by the law. I am also assuming that you need to go to an office and are not working from home.
Since at least 50% of patients are asymptomatic, the actual death rate is far lower. Originally, we thought that the death rate from COVID 19 was 2-4%. But the denominator is far larger so the actual death rate is no different than the flu. Before, we didn’t count the asymptomatic patients.
The only difference is that flu kills the very young, the very old and people with risk factors. COVID 19 kills more older people and individuals with risk factors and hardly ever kills the young. We also feel more at ease with the flu because we have a vaccine which has variable effectiveness. If you look at the numbers, 20,000-100,000 patients die of the flu yearly and COVID 19 has killed nearly 60,000 patients in the US thus far. Both viruses ultimately can cause pneumonia.
The actual mortality rate in the young for COVID 19 is less than .1%. So I feel that younger folks should be going back to work first but work station precautions will need to be instituted. I’m sure that we will be getting more info on this matter soon.
Older folks or those with risk factors, esp. obesity, diabetes and hypertension are going to need to be much more cautious.
Be safe, my friends,
Evan L Lipkis MD
And now a word from my pooches,
Evan L Lipkis MD
MD Special Care
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