‘Flatten the worry’—however watch out for compliance fatigue – Well being and Life-style
By Rafael Castillo MD
Are we getting restless and carefree with our stance against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
After more than six months of struggling to coexist with the virus, there is a great tendency for compliance fatigue to develop and some people are expected to exercise caution.
However, this was exactly the same precarious attitude during the 1918 Spanish pandemic that led to the deadly second wave, and it was during this period of carelessness and negligence that most of the 50 million people died.
We certainly cannot afford this type of tragedy, especially when we seem on the right track with control now and hopefully eliminate COVID-19 later.
The public must be constantly reminded of established effective precautions. Here, too, the medical community can help not only to remind people but to set good examples themselves.
It’s quite disturbing what we recently read in the newspapers of a medical event where the attendees – many of whom were doctors – brazenly did not wear face masks during most of the procedures. The organizers should have pondered the repercussions of their recklessness on the public, who still view doctors as the authoritative source of advice on health issues.
To be fair, I share the group’s goals of “reducing anxiety,” which we have discussed at length in this area several times.
In any case, the aftermath of the excessive fear of COVID-19 is likely to lead to more serious long-term complications, not only to our mental health, but also to our general well-being.
I share the enthusiasm of the group that we can get on with our lives even though the risk of COVID-19 remains. But this is where I stop sharing what they stand for.
I do not share your recommendation to use hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis against COVID-19 on a large scale. Apparently they were influenced by similar initiatives in the United States.
HCQ can have potentially serious side effects, including sudden cardiac arrest in people with heart problems. I also recommend HCQ to selected patients who are hospitalized and where we can monitor cardiac electrocardiogram complexes (EKG). We measure some intervals in the EKG complexes, and if they are increased excessively, we stop the HCQ immediately.
When the general public takes HCQ like vitamin C or zinc, it can lead to serious complications. This is likely why most studies have so far shown no net profit for HCQ, leading the World Health Organization to remove it from their global clinical trials.
It is possible that it is life-saving for some patients, but harmful for those with heart problems. Cardiac examination and monitoring will still be required for some high-risk patients.
Former Health Minister Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan was invited to act as a case officer at this event but denied organizing it, recommending HCQ as a prophylaxis or suggesting that wearing a face mask was no longer necessary.
He made the following statement:
“Recently, several news outlets reported that I organized an event called ‘Flatten the Fear’ last week and / or that I was the leader of a group called ‘Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines’. Some of those reports have also stated that I am advocating the use of hydroxychloroquine for the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19.
“These reports are false.
“As I made clear earlier on my social media page and in my interviews, I am not the person who leads the group“ Affected Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines ”. I also didn’t organize the “Flatten the Fear” event.
“I only attended the event at the invitation of civil society colleagues, and it is just one of the many events where I have spoken about addressing COVID-19 to all of society, all of government and all of government – System approach.
“I also do not support hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis for the prevention or treatment of a COVID-19 infection. The acknowledgment was incorrectly attributed to me and it was solely the opinion of the people who made these statements during the Flatten the Fear event.
“My recommendations for preventing COVID-19 are publicly available in the brochure ‘Labanan ang COVID-19’ published by the Health Futures Foundation Inc. I encourage everyone to share this resource material, which can be downloaded from the following link: www. healthfuturesfoundation.com/COVID-19
“After all, I wore my face mask during the event, except when I had to eat my snack and talk on stage. I was not one of the participants who purposely did not wear face masks because they were supposedly receiving prophylactic treatment, some news reports reported.
“I affirm that wearing face masks – as mandated by the Department of Health, the World Health Organization and public health experts worldwide – should be done in the fight against COVID-19.
“I urge my Filipinos to do their part to protect each other and participate in our nationwide Bayanihan against the COVID-19 pandemic.”