This breath is a gift ... This moment is a gift ... This life is a gift ... As with every other person, I am struggling to comprehend the staggering effects that COVID-19 has had on our society in such a short time. Gone are the carefree smiles, the uncomplicated daily lives, and the thought that we and our families are immune to unexpected death. Instead, we are witnessing a collapse in society ...

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For most of us, we have never experienced a pandemic as unique and widespread as COVID-19 during our lifetimes. There is ample data suggesting that the novel coronavirus is not only more infectious (R-naught 2-3) but also associated with increased severity of disease (average case fatality rate of 2.3 percent) than the seasonal flu. We are slowly understanding how intelligent and damaging this virus ...

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In a time where everyone is looking for answers, I see a lot of health care workers, pundits, sports figures, and talking heads presenting a lot of in-flux data as immutable fact. I’ve seen phrases like “If you go outside, you’ll kill your grandma,” and “Going out to get groceries makes you part of the problem.” I wish people, including my own colleagues and fellow front line health care employees, ...

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I’m not gonna lie. It’s scary as hell to be a doctor right now. In Italy, which is our projected immediate future, up to 10 percent of infected people are health care workers. Health care workers are also more likely to experience severe and critical diseases. There’s not a great explanation for why this is, other than just higher risk from repeated exposure over and over to infected persons. When ...

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My grandfather was a dedicated physician.  To me, he was the caring, attentive doctor depicted in the classic Norman Rockwell paintings.  He was a brilliant and religious man of few but powerful words who didn’t greet his patients with a handshake, but yet he was loved by so many.   He also happens to be the person who taught me as a young child why cheerios float, how lifesavers ...

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March 15, 2020. The luke-warm water burns my hands for a few seconds; maybe this is how a snowman feels as it disintegrates on the first day of spring. Soon, my fingers loosen, but the sensation is fleeting. I dry my hands, put on another pair of gloves, then clean the stethoscope I’ve been using for the last several patients. I’ve been told that these are single-use, that I should ...

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Earlier this morning, I received an email regarding a “quarantine party.” The event description read: “We are young people who don’t take this BS quarantine seriously. Let’s crowd in this condo and have a good time. I promise, you won’t get sick.” I am 21 years old, healthy, and, subsequently, very unlikely to succumb to the coronavirus. I could party. I could attend that event and laugh in the face ...

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The physician workforce is one of the most valuable resources of any hospital, and in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to do everything possible to ensure that physicians stay healthy. Like other hospital epidemiologists, I spend a lot of time thinking about practical ways to reduce the risk of infection. So to that end, I want to offer some suggestions for reducing your risk of acquiring COVID-19 ...

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An excerpt from The Physician Inventor: The Doctor’s Handbook to Patenting Medical Devices and Methods. Recent New York Times articles document the growing concern that the United States will not have enough ventilators to fight the coronavirus pandemic.  In one article, it is estimated that the state of New York ...

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Dear Mr. President,

I write to you now to congratulate you. You are at the cusp of a moment that historians will note catapulted you into one of the great chapters of the American story. Your name will forever be listed among the great men of the ages. The businessman turned TV star turned chief of the greatest battle against the most feared pandemic of the age. The man ...

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COVID-19 started to really hit home this week. I hadn’t been aware of its severity because, honestly, I was too busy balancing residency, being a husband, and a father to keep up to date on the daily news.  Now it’s unavoidable with school closures, travel restrictions, and limited grocery store stock.  With worried texts and phone calls, my family and friends wanted to know any updates and if coronavirus was ...

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Coronavirus has officially hit the United States. The estimated numbers of infected are likely a gross underestimate of the actual number of cases, as the U.S. has only tested a small proportion of the population. Researchers at Johns Hopkins estimate there could be between 50,000 and half a million cases ...

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We have lost our chance to contain this pandemic and are now facing an unmitigated medical disaster. This administration’s response has actively undermined our ability to care for patients by perpetuating misinformation and downplaying the looming threat this infection poses to the public. Ensuring health security is the fundamental duty and responsibility of government at all levels, and we implore you to prioritize protecting our people over political and economic ...

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I have bled out during emergency surgery and been revived by the expert trauma and transplant team who raced into my operating room. I have had liter upon liter of donated blood transfused into my grey lifeless body. I survived months on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. I have had my lungs fill up with fluid, hurling me into impending respiratory failure. I have heard the emergency team stampede down the hospital ...

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I wish that I didn't have the experience of working 34 years as a nurse. I know the big picture in a hospital. A recent article stated that the Twin Cities, where I live, has 500 ICU beds, 450 ventilators. As of last Friday, those were 95 percent full. Apparently, there are new CDC guidelines stating that healthcare workers can wear surgical masks when N95 masks are not available, but the ...

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In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, a friend of mine relayed a troubling story to me recently. My friend is a dermatologist who is 9-months pregnant, living and working in a county with no known community spread of the novel coronavirus. After spending time examining a 19-year-old with acne, the patient told her that she was under self-quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus in New York. Her college in New ...

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My dad was a baseball enthusiast and a connoisseur of fried calamari and dark chocolate.  He had a genius-level IQ and knew the answers to obscure Jeopardy questions.  He would beat you at any trivia game.  He was an avid reader, typically reading at least three books at once and still able to follow the plotline in them all.  He was a history buff and a murder mystery fanatic.  He ...

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These are interesting times.  Our schools are shut down.  Transportation halted.  Businesses shuttered.  Public spaces abandoned.  Cities locked down.  Stock markets crashing.  It is the greatest disruption to life we have faced since 9/11, and this will last much longer. It's not hyperbole to say that we are on a wartime footing, and every aspect of life has been affected by this battle with COVID-19.  A national emergency has been ...

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Necessity is the mother of invention, and in no time is invention more necessary than during a global pandemic.  Starting with the drive-through testing clinics pioneered overseas that spread to the United States (big shout-out to the University of Washington for putting step-by-step instructions for how to start your own drive-through clinic on their COVID-19 resource site, to the “telephone booth” testing facilities in South Korea, ...

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Do you remember when you were a bright-eyed pre-med student, head bowed at the computer, typing your personal statement? Type, type … backspace, backspace … type. You didn’t want to use the phrase “to help people” in your statement as your reason for wanting to be a physician. Maybe you said something like me. I mentioned how there were no doctors in my family, and I wanted to be the ...

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