We are in the midst of something the world has never experienced: a highly contagious and lethal disease, 7.5 billion humans, and more than 100,000 airline flights per day. That and our ability to swipe for a date, dinner or a ride has made us utterly social, connected and globalized — and unable to fathom the consequences of our footprints, whether it is environmental or biological.
As a result, our healthcare system will soon be overrun, and our methodology for treating very basic things — like dehydration — will unnecessarily strain our healthcare system. We need to employ innovative solutions to the solvable pieces of the COVID-19 problem.
What I’m writing about today are immediate fixes that we can put into place to help alleviate some of the burden on our healthcare system. The truth is, we don’t have strong enough infrastructure to support a pandemic. But, another truth is moments of crisis unshackle the American entrepreneurial spirit — and that’s where I hope we can lean in: to the collective power.
Here’s what we need to do immediately:
- Practice good social distance and stay inside: The benefits of social distancing as a means of flattening the curve are imperative. Whether it’s San Francisco or Seoul, cities are putting practices into place, but it’s up to us on an individual level to adhere to these guidelines and honor our most at-risk.
- Redeploy scarce resources: IVs are effective for treating dehydration, but require a clean, sterile environment and a professional to administer the technology. We’re running out of all of those things — both the technology and the labor behind it. And unfortunately, we’ve seen shortages before. Oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS provide an efficacious, immediate way to treat dehydration — no IV or medical professional labor or attention needed.
- Leverage telemedicine for health needs: the infrastructure exists to quickly connect doctors and patients. This solves a few problems. a) Wait times for an appointment can be challenging on a standard day, and during a time where our healthcare is swollen with crisis, this becomes imperative for getting people help quickly. b) Keeping people out of waiting rooms is critical. This helps flatten the transmission rate and reduce the strain on our physical spaces.
- Utilize delivery for non-urgent pharmaceuticals: whether it’s birth control or heart medication, a slew of services exist online that allow you to order batches of your medication delivered to your doorstep. That keeps you out of the pharmacy and stocked up in moments of shelter-in-place quarantines.
- Become an expert hand washer. End stop.
Regardless of all of the things that society uses to separate us, we all have the power to contribute in meaningful ways — at an empathetic, individual or institutional level. Let’s turn this poisonous fog of uncertainty into a moment of globalized fortification and collaboration.
Dr. Eduardo Dolhun