The COVID War: What's Happening Today, Tomorrow and the Next Day
Thursday, April 9, 2020
The author, Dr. William Kim, Chief Medical Advisor for BCHD, models a face covering made from a t-shirt that can be worn by people to combat the spread of COVID-19. The doctor only wears this type of face covering when he's not working.

There are COVID-19 rules that everybody in the South Bay has heard innumerable times. Still, they bear repeating…

- The virus doesn’t have wings or legs; it can only be spread by us. So, keep yourself out of circulation and don’t socialize. Proper physical distancing is our No. 1 weapon against the coronavirus.

- I can’t repeat this enough: Wash your hands. The warmer the water, the better. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – all around, back, front and between your fingers.

- Yes, wear a face covering. A scarf or even torn-up t-shirt can cut down 50 percent of respiratory droplets. Face coverings, though, are not a replacement for physical distancing and washing your hands. (Please don’t use medical-grade and surgical masks; they’re in short supply and are for medical professionals serving on the frontlines.)

- If you or a family member is quarantined, it’s best that they have their own room and, especially, their own bathroom because flushing a toilet can aerosolize COVID-19 particles.

- There are more than 20 viruses floating around the South Bay, and only one is COVID-19. So, if you feel ill and are short of breath, the first thing to do is call your primary care physician for directions. Otherwise, call the hospital – in advance – so they can properly receive you, do triage, and check your oxygen saturation, temperature and vitals. These results will determine next steps.

If you’re not sure what to do, call Torrance Memorial’s “Ask a Nurse Hotline” at 310-517-1111, or Providence Little Company of Mary at 888-432-5464 (888-HEALING). Both staffs are particularly adept at answering COVID questions and can help sort through symptoms. The Beach Cities Health District web site – bchd.org – has a lot of great information about coronavirus and getting help in our area.

WHAT’S NEXT?
The past weeks have been tough, and, unfortunately, it’s not going to get better real soon. That said, we all have to remain positive. The entire Beach Cities community is in this together. We should regularly check on our neighbors and friends because we have to look out for others more than we’re used to. Everybody needs emotional support.

For the next months, we’re focused on mitigation and trying to stop the virus. Then comes the recovery – economically, physically and emotionally.

This virus could extend through May and into June, but the good news is that the FDA has developed 23 lab tests for potentially diagnosing it. Twenty-three ways to detect COVID that hopefully will soon be approved and will be in our community to identify who are the carriers and who is ill.

There are also numerous medications being tested that could become simple, everyday remedies, including a vaccine as well as effective oral and IV treatments. Some of these future cures will one day make a COVID vaccine as common as getting a flu shot.

We’re in the midst of a pandemic, but there is hope. Our local community has excellent medical support and new COVID tests and potential preventive vaccines are on the horizon. For now, though, strictly follow the COVID rules, be nice to everybody and we’ll get to the other side of the curve together.

Dr. William E. Kim, MD, was born in Kansas City, Mo., and lived in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon while growing up. Board certified in internal medicine, he specialized in emergency medicine for 10 years at the old South Bay Hospital, then transitioned into private practice with the South Bay Family Medical Group. Today, Dr. Kim manages his own practice, which provides personalized/concierge 24-7 services, and serves as Chief Medical Advisor for Beach Cities Health District.