OUR OPINION: Education on COVID-19 treatments should be as publicized as the vaccine

Published 4:00 am Saturday, August 21, 2021

When Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in a recent press conference, “You’re either going to get vaccinated or get COVID-19,” he wasn’t exaggerating.

As such, it is imperative that the public educates themselves about the treatments available for coronavirus — and the timeline by which these treatments are available. In the weekend paper, you’ll see that we reached out to local physician Dr. Dan Edney, Chief Medical Officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health.

In crafting this story, the goal was not to urge vaccinations, but instead to arm readers with knowledge that could potentially save their lives.

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Mississippi currently sits at 51 percent of the eligible population being vaccinated for COVID-19. It’s safe to say that nearly everyone who wants the vaccine has received it, and there is seemingly little anyone can do to convince those who are hesitant that they should get the shot.

“We should be treating COVID like we treat the flu!” is a common refrain from those on social media. And perhaps, maybe by sheer necessity, those people have a point. Thanks to medical innovations over the last two years, several effective treatments for coronavirus have been implemented. For those who are unvaccinated, the data overwhelmingly shows there’s a greater risk of serious illness should one contract COVID-19.

However, if one knows the early signs and symptoms and takes a proactive stance for their health and wellbeing, they can avoid serious illness. Monoclonal antibody infusions, for example, are most effective early on after you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. And, they’re up to 80 percent effective when it comes to helping people avoid hospitalizations.

Studies have shown that much-politicized Hydroxychloroquine is not an effective preventative drug or treatment for COVID-19, but Remdesivir is available and is shown to consistently help. Ivermectin (which some people are buying at feed stores in a move that is puzzling and ill-informed) is also not proven to be an effective drug to treat COVID-19 even though it’s been used in some cases.

Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, is eligible to receive treatment for COVID-19. That’s important to note, as it seems breakthrough cases are popping up at an alarming rate.

It’s understandable that, as more guidelines and information is released about coronavirus, confusion will ensue. We’ve all reached the point of frustration.

That’s why it is important to speak with your doctor regarding the best treatment options should you contract COVID-19, know the warning signs of the illness and take a proactive stance when it comes to your health. It could mean the difference between two weeks recovering at home, and two months on a ventilator.