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The leading candidate in the race for Mayor of New York City, Andrew Yang, sat on the edge of his kids’ bunk beds and chatted with his doctor. He’d tested positive for the coronavirus and wanted some advice.
Dr Dara Kass shared her experience of COVID. “Talking as a doctor and a patient, I was surprised at how crummy I felt,” she told her patient. “Because a lot of people said it wasn’t so bad, but I felt pretty terrible. Fatigue, muscle aches, headache, a little nauseousness. I really just needed to drink a lot of water and take some naps.”
While the city sees the number of positive tests for the virus go down, it’s been concerning that public figures like Andrew Yang and New York City Health Commissioner, Dr David Chokshi, have contracted the coronavirus.
Yang publicly shared his telemedicine visit with Dr Kass. He’d been in quarantine since late January, after a colleague had tested positive for COVID. Last Wednesday, he was given the all-clear to resume his campaign for Mayor of New York City. “I woke up on Saturday, feeling a tiny bit run down. Not an unfamiliar feeling when you’re in the midst of a campaign!” he said. “I took a test that day and when it came up negative, I thought, this is just me being a little bit over zoomed or overworked. I just felt a tiny bit drained, but not so much so that it set off alarm bells.” On Tuesday, he tested positive.
Dr Kass said this was very common and explained how this period put the family unit at risk. “We find a lot of patients who have this. One of the hardest parts, when people start to feel tired or fatigued, is getting them to separate from their family. So that they stopped spreading it even before their test is positive. I say to people to pick a bedroom for the person that isn’t feeling well and give it to them. Sometimes it does mean that the dad gets the kids’ bedroom.”
“So I’m in the kids’ room. I’ve got the bunk beds going,” said Yang.
Kass emphasized that at this point the patient should “stop eating as a family.” She was also clear with Yang that “you understand that 10 days from the day you had symptoms, you are not allowed to go out and your family is now in quarantine for the same period —10 days?”
One of the places Yang had been using for testing was MiDoctor on 9th Avenue. Dr Vino Palli has run the clinic alongside his work in ER: “I’ve been working non-stop since the pandemic started. It’s been very stressful,” said Dr Palli. “Now the phones are ringing off the hook for people wanting the vaccine. We are not able to take calls for testing because there are so many calls for vaccination.”
So far, MiDoctor Urgent Care has had been able to vaccinate 1,000 people — but has had over 20,000 requests.
Vino told us that he was concerned about the new variants of the virus that had emerged from the UK, South Africa and Brazil. “COVID is still here. The hospitalizations have come down a little bit, but the mortality rate is still high. We are nowhere near the end of this,” he warned. “We are in the middle of this pandemic and what’s really worrisome are the new strains. I feel like there is a sort of calm right now, like the virus has given us all a little break. This is the time we need to utilize to vaccinate people.”
He reiterated the advice to Yang to be diligent in his quarantine. “Staying home when you’re sick is really important. I see people who are COVID positive come back to the clinic within a few days, after we have told them to quarantine for 10 to 14 days. There is no point in getting a repeat COVID test — because you’re going to be positive. These people are walking around spreading the virus.
“Even folks who are vaccinated, they’ll have to mask (or double mask) because we now know very clearly that vaccination doesn’t mean you’re not transmitting the virus. You can still get infected, you can transmit the disease and you can be asymptomatic. So vaccination doesn’t give you a ticket to not follow the public health guidelines.”
Dr Vino watched the video of Dr Kass’s advice to Andrew Yang. He told us: “All of us doctors have the same messages.”
- Follow public health measures
- Wash your hands
- Wear a mask (or double mask)
- Maintain social distance
- Stay home if you are sick — quarantine
- Avoid non-essential travel, especially international travel
- Get tested frequently
- Get vaccinated if you are eligible
- Continue to be vigilant, as we are heading into a bumpy ride with new variants with mutations.
Meanwhile, back at Andrew Yang’s quarantine bunk bed, he’s working on traditional methods to keep his spirits up and soothe his soul, like Chicken Soup. His social media appeal yesterday seemed to bring him a rich broth.
Good luck with the rest of your quarantine, Andrew. Thanks for sharing this great advice from your doctors.