A senior US doctor recently turned to Twitter to give five takeaways from his infection with the Omicron strain of Covid-19, which is presently spreading around the globe. Faheem Younus of the University of Maryland tweeted on January 15 that he had had symptoms two weeks ago and had tested positive for coronavirus.
“Sharing five lessons I learned from that experience and hoping you’ll find them helpful,” he said.
The first lesson Younus wrote about was that masks work. Although he was around Covid-19 patients for over 1000 times in the last two years, he did not get infected because of PPE and masks. However, being exposed for two days at a mask-less family gathering made him susceptible to Omicron. “So yes. Masks work. Wear an N95 or KN95 if you can,” he wrote.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an infected person without a mask can infect others in just 15 minutes if they are within 6 feet of each other. If the infected person is without a mask and the second person is wearing a surgical mask, the infection can transmit in 30 minutes. However, if the infected and uninfected individuals are wearing N95 masks, the virus will take 25 hours to transmit.
The second lesson Younus wrote about was the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. The top US health expert said, “You know the vaccine+booster did its job when the patient is back to work after 5-days (with a mask:) and telling his story on Twitter instead of fighting for his life on a ventilator. I thank vaccines. I thank God.”
Younus’ opinion on vaccines was also recently shared by Dr Gautam Bhansali, a consultant physician at Bombay Hospital, who told Indian Express that it was because of the vaccine that the infection rate among the healthcare workers dropped drastically in the second wave. I am still alive and able to treat Covid-19 patients daily because of the vaccine,” Bhansali said.
Younus next said that he did not need monoclonal antibodies, steroids, antibiotics or paxlovid etc. for treating his infection. He said “definitely didn’t use ivermectin, HCQ, zinc” and that symptomatic therapy was enough to recover. However, Younus added that the protocol for severe infections might be different.
For the fourth lesson, he asked people to think of their mortality often. “COVID or no COVID, think of your own mortality, often. It puts everything in perspective and allows us to make brave, meaningful decisions,” he said.
Lastly, Younus advised people to know their risk tolerance and follow their heart after complying with science. He appealed to people to “get boosted” and “wear KN/N95 mask”. “If COVID still gets you, you’ll likely fully recover,” he wrote.