WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As COVID-19 challenges and changes society, we find ourselves in a period of uncertainty and, at times, misinformation.
Many of us may not know where to turn for accurate and up to date facts on treating novel coronavirus and testing for it.
It can be confusing which is why it is vital to have fact-based, science-based answers during this pandemic.
Eyewitness News turned to a former FDA chairperson who was also the one-time New York City Health Commissioner for what we need to know about COVID-19. treatment and testing.
Health professionals are searching for ways to treat novel coronavirus. One option we’ve heard about is the anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine. Some claim it’s the solution but according to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, we need to pump the brakes on that.
“It’s important to realize even if you’re very sick, a drug that isn’t proven in terms of its safety and its efficacy can actually harm you, can make you worse,” Dr. Hamburg said.
Eyewitness News spoke with Dr. Hamburg who was in Washington, D.C. She is encouraged after Pittsburgh-based UPMC announced on Thursday its researchers have developed a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“Every advance is an important one. They have to be studied and we have to do, you know, have our foot on the gas pedal to do this work so that we can get the American people and people around the world this vaccine protection,” Dr. Hamburg said.
The best treatment option for COVID-19 right now is what Dr. Hamburg calls supportive care. That’s because most people who get the virus are either asymptomatic or have a mild to moderate form of the disease.
“It’s that small percentage of those infected that really are requiring the kinds of care you’re seeing in hospitals and requiring ventilators and intravenous fluids,” Dr. Hamburg said.
Also encouraging? Rapid testing done within minutes of obtaining a patient sample.
“Rapid test that are easy to do and can be done right on the spot, not requiring you to go into a hospital emergency room or even your physician’s office where sick people with COVID-19 and people with other disease risk don’t have to mingle,” Dr. Hamburg said.
Dr. Hamburg adds that it’s very important to understand how much infection we have in our communities, since people can be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.
They need to know if they have been infected so that they can isolate and get the treatment they need and not put others at risk.