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Dr. Rushi Patel

Oral & Facial Health

In the recent pandemonium and worldwide scare of the corona virus, I found the below article — which I did not write — as a relevant and interesting approach to the legacy we should leave after COVID-19 (coronavirus) no longer becomes relevant.

Thanks to Dr. Abdu Sharkway of Canada:

“I’m a doctor and an infectious diseases specialist. I’ve been at this for more than 20 years, seeing sick patients on a daily basis.

“I have worked in inner city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, TB, SARS, measles, shingles, whooping cough and diphtheria are just a few of the diseases I have been exposed to in my profession. And with the notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.

“I am not scared of COVID-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of COVID-19.

“What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line health care providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others.

“I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they “probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know ...” and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.

“I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And, well, even that big party called the Olympic Games; that could be kyboshed too. Can you even imagine?

“I’m scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.

“But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, openmindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.

“COVID-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further.

“The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and ‘fight for yourself above all else’ attitude could prove disastrous.

“I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society.

“Let’s meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.

“Facts, not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts. Our children will thank us for it.”

Dr. Sharkway’s comments were posted on Facebook and LinkedIn.

We as Citrus Countians can do the following:

-- Stay calm, but take it seriously. This will likely be bad, but it’s not the apocalypse.

-- Stay home if you’re sick or someone in your house is sick.

-- Leave medical supplies for health care workers. You shouldn’t be stockpiling masks or other medical supplies.

They are needed in hospitals to keep our health care workers healthy.

-- Wash your hands. Get in the habit of frequently washing your hands thoroughly and covering your cough.

-- Minimize your exposure. Now that we’re seeing community transmission, it’s time to start seriously cutting back on your exposure to other people.

Depending on your circumstances:

-- Cancel all non-essential travel (and most of it is non-essential).

-- Avoid large-scale gatherings.

-- Work from home if possible.

-- Minimize direct contact with others, including hand shakes and hugs.

-- Reduce your trips out of the house. If possible, shop for two weeks of groceries at once or consider having your groceries delivered.

-- Remember, keep calm and prepare. This is likely to be bad, but if we respond calmly and thoughtfully, we can handle it.

Dr. Rushi S. Patel, DDS, Ph.D., with Citrus Oral and Facial Surgery, is board certified and a graduate of Lecanto High School. Visit on the Web at

(1) comment

Sandy Cheeks

Great article.

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