CoxHealth infectious disease specialist Dr. Robin Trotman told a gaggle of reporters on Wednesday that the treatments being used by the hospital are showing positive results in reducing the severity of COVID-19 in patients along with helping reduce the length of hospital stays.
Trotman said he wanted the public to know that what’s being done treating the patients, which is consistent with what’s being done nationwide in response to testing, is also being carefully managed due to low supplies of necessary items like convalescent plasma.
“In the last three weeks, we’ve probably had better outcomes,” Trotman said. “We’ve had a large surge of patients, the most we’ve had in the hospital, and the outcomes are looking better with the combination of treatments (using convalescent plasma, remdesivir, and steroids.)”
Trotman said just three months ago the outcome for these patients with comorbidity issues (such as diabetes) would have been significantly worse. He said that they have not been forced the new patients on respirators.
Trotman said that while people should be hopeful that the trajectory of the illness has been changed to the level patients don’t have to be put on respirators as often, people should still take the virus very seriously and take steps to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Trotman added that many people point to patients being “asymptomatic” with the virus but when intensely questioned about their experience with the virus, discover the patients actually were showing mild symptoms.
“When you ask these people and you do a couple hundred tests on a group of young people in an outbreak, and you find out they don’t have symptoms, when you drill down those people really had some kind of symptoms,” Dr. Trotman said. “They were achy, they had some kind of headache…if you ask the right questions, you find out they had some kind of symptoms.”
Trotman did add that some patients actually do become infected without symptoms, which is a major reason people need to wear masks when they go out in public.
“These [asymptomatic] people can transmit the disease,” Dr. Trotman said. “They probably don’t transmit as much as someone coughing in someone’s face…as someone who’s sick and coughing.”
Trotman said studies have shown the impact of masks. He specifically pointed to the Great Clips incident in Springfield where none of the clients of the infected stylists contracted the virus and all involved were wearing masks.
“If the mask reduces the disease 50 percent of the time and keeps 50 percent of the people out of the hospital, that’s a win,” Trotman said.
Trotman also debunked one of the major claims of detractors who are protesting masking requirements, noting the goal of masking is not to stop each individual virus from going through the mask but the larger droplets from coughing that contain the virus.
“The mask…catches large respiratory droplets,” Trotman said. “It’s not intended to be 100 percent effective for working in an aerosol cloud for four hours. We would never wear regular masks in a cloud for four hours. But in a short exposure, someone coughing large respiratory droplets, it’s effective. The science is there, there’s no debating it.”