Dr. Marc J. Sicklick, M.D.: What Has Happened to Covid-19 ? A Reason for Optimism – and Pessimism

34

By Marc J. Sicklick, M.D.

It’s been several weeks of changing times and attitudes. What has happened to COVID-19 during that time? What is my personal take on the current situation and what do I think will happen?

What gives me cause for optimism at the present time?

Some reports that infected patients not only made antibodies, but also had evidence of a cell mediated response. What this means in English is that we can think of the immune system as having 2 basic arms. Antibodies come out of one of the arms. The other arm has both killer function toward viruses and also has regulatory effects on antibody production. Both arms seem to have an immune response to COVID-19. This is good.
Intimate household contact with sick, COVID-infected patients have not always led to infection in other household members. Is it possible that past coronavirus infections may play a role in current reduced risk in people who had a good immune response to them? Is there some cross protection? Is there a genetic factor that protects some people? These are all possibilities Anything that reduces the number of potentially vulnerable people may reduce the number still needed to achieve herd immunity. This is also good.

Some preliminary evidence that at least one (or more) of the multitude of vaccines being made has met some early hopes. The vaccine made by Moderna seems to be on the brink of starting phase 3 studies. Keep in mind that even if a vaccine isn’t 100% effective, anything that gives partial protection will help reach the level needed for herd immunity. (When reading newspaper reports of breakthroughs, remain skeptical about press releases on vaccines, medicines, new approaches etc., especially if business releases appear before medical ones. But I do think that significant progress is being made in a relatively short period of time by several manufacturers.)

Social distancing and masks are becoming part of our life. Or at least part of the life of those who care about other people. Everyone has to social distance and wear masks near other people. Having antibodies does not prove immunity and is certainly not a reason to not wear a mask. There are no legitimate reasons not to wear one. Masks will help slow the spread of the disease. Good studies show that it cuts the spread very significantly.

Politicians have learned from their mistakes. In the opinion of many doctors, the most egregious mistake was putting COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes. This is no longer happening. Had this not been done, our mortality rate would have been much, much lower.

Medical personnel are learning about this new disease on an ongoing basis and we, too, are learning from our mistakes. We have learned that not all damage is caused by direct viral effect. Much of the damage is caused by an over reactive immune response and by clotting. Use of medications, when appropriate, to reduce the immune response and to reduce clotting, can save lives and prevent organ damage. This will be reflected in, what I hope will be, lower mortality rates.

The seasonal warming will hopefully lead to us following the path of other coronaviruses. They usually decrease (not necessarily disappear) in the mid-spring. They also return in the fall, but we will hopefully be better prepared to handle it then. One of the models that I recently saw does project an increase beginning in September. The good news is that it should not reach as high as the April peak and doctors and hospitals are better prepared, both with material and knowledge.

What gives me cause for pessimism?

My biggest concern is the still lengthy time that it will take until we can both contain COVID-19 with medications and prevent it with vaccines that are both effective and safe. I expect both, to some degree, to be found, and just pray that it’s soon. I do not expect a vaccine in the immediate future. I am not sure that we will ever have a totally effective vaccine, but that doesn’t mean that the disease will not be controlled. I expect some beneficial medications and a better approach to the different phases of the disease, and both will cut the death rate.

I’m very upset to see people not adhering to social distancing and not wearing masks in public. These work NOW. There is no excuse for this. If everyone would wear a mask when outside, the virus will have a very difficult time going from person to person. Some studies show that masks and social distancing cut the rate of new infection by well over 80%. Some are much higher than that. I understand lock-up fatigue. Everyone has had enough. Me too. But I don’t understand the lack of worrying about your neighbor, even if you think (despite all the medical warnings to the contrary) that you’re already immune. If people don’t do this now, what will happen in the fall?

Too many people assume that if they have antibodies, they are immune (see above ad nauseum. I am repeating myself over and over because this is such an important life-saving tool.). If you assume that antibodies are a guarantee of immunity (which at this time has not be proven), and even if you can assume that the tests are 100% accurate (and they are not), no one knows how the long the antibodies remain protective and no one can say that a person with antibodies can’t be a carrier and infect other people. Recent papers have shown that some people lose antibodies over several months. It may be that those who had milder cases lose antibodies faster. I have had a few patients with positive swabs and antibodies who have lost them. No one knows what this means. Everyone should practice social distancing. Everyone should worry about everyone else.

Pictures of protesters in very close proximity, many without masks or with masks below the nose, on the news, terrify me as a physician. There are thousands of people in close contact who can really restart the epidemic. They can get sick. They can die. They can infect other people.

I am also upset to see religious gatherings with people violating the social distancing rules. Some are too close. Some aren’t wearing masks. Some wear their mask below their nose. Some cover their nose and expose their mouth. This will be costly. And a new wave is likely for the late summer which is not that far off. Prevention today will decrease disease tomorrow.

The spikes in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are very alarming. We all know snowbirds who are now leaving Florida. Campers are also coming up for the summer. It is very easy for the disease to spread from hot spots, as we have already seen.

I’m very down about the damage done by the too long lockdown of the economy. The collateral damage for some is drug use, alcohol use, depression, severe economic damage- some of which is permanent, loss of relationships, etc. We are multifaceted people. The global picture and global impact need to be considered. Economists lean towards money outcomes and public health administrators lean on health outcomes. We need a hybrid approach. Both need to be considered. My wife keeps telling people that I have a risk:benefit approach. I do. All of life is a risk:benefit calculation. I pray that I make the correct risk:benefit calculation when I give advice.

It’s too easy for politicians who get a regular, large paycheck to say to shut down the economy. Perhaps if politicians were not paid during this time, they would have an inkling of what our lives and worries are like and we would have different results. Perhaps not. But that won’t happen so I’m pessimistic about their ability to fully understand our situation and to react appropriately.

The idea of camps is still controversial. Some states allow camps. New York State does not allow sleep away camps. If anyone thinks that kids will be staying home in a controlled environment with no outside contacts if there isn’t camp, I’d like to know what they’re taking. I fear spread. I fear too many young drivers sharing roads with kids on bikes. I fear teens and younger children mixing with friends and then bringing COVID home to the more vulnerable. Most of all I fear decisions that are not from the world of reality. The equation is kids mixing and mingling and possibly spreading disease at home, and bike riding and sharing streets with drivers, vs. kids being away in a more controlled environment. Both sides carry some risk. We need an answer, again, based on reality and our best global scientific data and prediction.

What do I realistically see happening?

The virus will be here for the foreseeable future. The decreasing numbers now are not permanent. There will be another spike or spikes until there is herd immunity. (I’m not sure what the number is for herd immunity in this disease.) The cooler fall weather is a risk factor. So is quarantine fatigue. So are less practiced social restrictions and distancing. It is not realistic to keep people locked up for months, let alone years. It is not beneficial to individuals or society to not have businesses and schools open.

I expect that New York will NOT lead the country in cases and deaths. Hopefully, because so many were already infected and because we will not be exposing COVID-19 negative people to COVID-19 positive people in nursing homes, we will not have as many potential targets. (Based on current data, about 20% of New York City has already been infected. In areas such as Williamsburg and Flatbush, the number is between 40-50%) And I hope that people continue to wear masks and distance. So perhaps New York can actually be a bit of a haven.

We will have a new normal. Some deaths are inevitable. That is a tragedy beyond words. EVERY death is a tragedy. But we cannot fully control nature. Schools will reopen in some form and so will businesses, but it will be different. Social distancing is here for now. Even after a vaccine is effective and widely available, I think many people will continue to avoid crowds, planes, cruises, weddings, and other parties.

People vote with their actions and we see what’s happening. Politicians cannot make unrealistic rules. Few will listen and it will lead to a general disregard for all COVID regulations, even those that are needed and make sense. We need a realistic approach. (Sometimes, the less realistic COVID restrictions remind me of Prohibition. We can’t legislate laws and rules that the public cannot and/or will not accept.)

Those of us who are vulnerable must take some responsibility on ourselves, and the rest of society should try to make our job easier. But it is not fair for me to expect a healthy person with low risk to be placed under rigid rules that benefit those of us who should be taking care of ourselves.

If I could give one piece of advice and only one and have it followed, what would it be?

WEAR A MASK WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING. You will save a life.

Sincerely yours,

Marc J. Sicklick, M.D.

{Matzav.com}

34 COMMENTS

  1. Dr. Sick-lick, how about taking it up with Ravi Amnon Yitzchok shlit”a who says: “אין לכם מה לפחד מהקורונה זה הכל קשקוש!” or you’re afraid he’ll overpower you with the truth and people with burn their masks and run out of the homes instantly?
    https://shofar.tv/videos/12243

  2. If what this Dr. says is even half true, why is every shul ignoring masks and social distancing. It would seem prudent to be on the safe side rather then tempt fate. Why aren’t Rabbonim hammering this message home.

    • Why should any sane person believe it’s even half true? Most people think like the posters above and below yours. Sicklick can fool sheeple like but not intelligent people. Rabbonim would not hammer such bobkess to most people who are awake.

    • You were fooled by this doctor and other “good” doctors and of course mainstream media.
      This is going to blow your mind. Google / DuckDuckGo / Yahoo any 3 digit number then “new cases”.

    • רמב”ן על בראשית פרק י”ט פסוק י”ז: הראות באויר הדבר ובכל החליים הנדבקים, יזיק מאד וידביקם. וכן המחשבה בהם. וכן נשוכי חיות השוטות ככלב השוטה וזולתו, כאשר יראו המים וכל מראה יחזו בהם דמות המזיק וישתטו וימותו, כמו שאמרו במסכת יומא (פד). והזכירוהו אנשי הטבע ולכן היתה אשתו של לוט נציב מלח, כי באתה המכה במחשבתה כאשר ראתה גפרית ומלח היורד עליהן מן השמים ודבקה בה:

      The Ramban (Bereishis 19:17) writes: When there is a plague in the air, looking at it is very damaging and is infectious. THE SAME APPLIES WHEN THINKING ABOUT IT. Similarly, when a person is bitten by a straying dog, if he looks into water, he will see the image of the destructive dog which causes him to become loony and eventually lead to his death. So did Lot’s wife become a statue of salt because the plague entered her mind when she saw sulfur and salt falling from the sky. It got her infected causing her unnatural death.

  3. Dr Marc Sicklick, if you’re a real doctor and understands that there are reason for optimism and for pessimism, can you please first tell the world what Covid-19 / Coronavirus is? For most people, it seems to be an alarm virus that declares every boo-boo, every infection, every injury under the sun as Coronavirus just to keep the public indoors. The masks are part of the hysteria show to make it more credible. Can you prove this wrong?

    A 5 year-old child was asked why he’s not going to cheder?
    He answered, “Because of Corona.”
    “What is Corona.”
    child: “I don’t know and nobody does.”

    • Don’t hold your breath. Don’t expect an answer from the doctor because, like the child said, nobody knows and he is part of the ‘nobody’. And of course not from Matzav commenters who’d believe doctors, the WHO and the CDC even if they’d say that Covid-19 has to do with cows jumping over the moon. The people here are as naive and simple-minded as they come. There’s good reason many refer to them as sheeple.

  4. To the person who says prove that there is corona. Regardless of what corona is or isn’t, there is a contagious sickness out there that is killing people. Prove to me that there isn’t. You are following the path of today’s scientists who say prove that the world was created, afra l’pumayhu. That is what people who don’t feel like having to inconvenience themselves say. They don’t feel like taking any responsibility for their actions. Chazal say that sofek pikuach nefashos supersedes even chilul shabbos. You seem to feel that you know better than the whole world. Have you ever considered that there may be some people out there who are at least a little smarter than you?

    • If Corona is a contagious disease like the common cold, influenza, Hepatitis A and B, why the need to include all sicknesses, all illness and all injuries into their list of corona “symptoms”? Does this make sense to you? Why do they claim people died in car accidents died from corona? People being shot died from corona? People died after skydiving died from corona? People who died from heart attacks, cancer, diabetes and were never even tested for their so-called corona test, were marked on their death certificate as died from coronavirus. Don’t you see the pattern? If Coronavirus is based on all sicknesses and illness, why would anyone believe this new virus?

      Let them first tell us what corona is, what are the symptoms, what are the signs? Many Gedolei Yisroel have spoken to doctors about coronavirus who told them point blank “it’s baloney”. Those who died were either from influenza, pneumonia, cancer or other sicknesses. There’s no such sickness as coronavirus or Covid-19. This is what several HONEST DOCTORS said. Do you have the guts to do some research yourself or you just listen to your doctor, the CDC and fake news. AS LONG AS DOCTORS WILL NOT TELL US WHAT CORONA IS, WE DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE THERE IS SUCH A VIRUS.

      Have you ever considered that there may be some people more alert and more open-minded than you and don’t fall for bogus viruses? In another few weeks Coronavirus will join the “Sars epidemic” and the “Swine Flu epidemic” which turned out to be complete fakes.

    • but that would be inconvenient. and then they would feel morally obligated to wear a mask which would be annoying.
      people wear a mask if you were right about corona it was only a small inconvenience and if you were wrong you could save a life.

  5. From checking out this doctor online, it appears he is a pediatrician. He is not a scientist. According to a recent study by Dr. Karl Friston, 80% of the population are not susceptible to COVD19. According to his data, it appears that similar coronaviruses like the common cold prevents COVID susceptibility. Also, Dr. Fauci admitted that the mortality rate for COVID is only 0.26% compared to the flu which was much higher last year with no lockdown suggested. In addition, there is no scientific evidence proving masks and especially social distancing are effective.

    https://unherd.com/2020/06/karl-friston-up-to-80-not-even-susceptible-to-covid-19/

  6. Dr Mark Sicklick
    Why are you basically just regurgitating the laughable fauci CDC Mantra again?
    Why dont you talk about Vitamin D and Hydroxocloroquin and Zinc so successful in our community ?
    Are you not familiar with these cures?
    How about other cures like coconut oil used in Hospitals world wide or Vitamin C which has proven to help many ?
    Why are you talking about the foolish mask idea which has much medical opposition and can with prolonged use cause brain damage and low immunity??
    After all this time is this all you have to offer the Frum community on this very important topic ? Are you just aiming to be politically “correct” ?
    See about this very successful double blind tested cure from India!
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/patanjali-to-launch-ayurvedic-medicine-for-coronavirus-today/articleshow/76523724.cms
    or search for many other very cheap cures available fro Africa Madagascar and much more ?
    PLEASE DON’T MISLEAD OUR COMMUNITY WITH REGURGITATED NONSENSE!

  7. Thank so for a very sensible and balanced article!

    Let everyone stop complain and just wear masks and distance, wash hands etc. a bit uncomfortable but no big deal.

    • Sure it’s a big deal. We’re not all crazy. If you want to wash your hands all day long, go ahead; wear chokeable (ro not chokeable) masks for no reason, go ahead; but don’t force others with your OCD nonsense. There’s absolutely no reason for it. My not wearing a mask will not harm you nor anyone else. If you think it does, stay home until Moshiach comes. No, I don’t walk the streets with masks and neither do people in our packed shul which was never closed wear masks or keep the stupidity of social distancing and nobody got sick.

    • but that doesnt allow people to feel like know it all’s. conspiracy theories do.
      people put so much effort into doing things that help others. and when it comes to a simple thing to save lives all of a sudden it’s the biggest thing in the word to care about your neighbors!

      • What lives can be “saved” by wearing masks? Since when do healthy people make others sick? If you’re afraid of someone breathing onto you, YOU should wear the mask. Those who are not afraid of this modern day stupidity, why should they wear a mask? And perhaps you want everyone to wear hazmat suits too?

        BTW you sound really dumb. If you don’t understand someone’s rational thinking, why call them conspiracy theorists. How does conspiracy theory come into open-mindedness?

        • dumb? you do realize people can spread corona without feeling like they have a bad flu?? if everybody wears a mask people are protected from corona spreading from spit particles from talking and coughing.
          mainly if sombody wears a mask while sick they would keep the particles in their mask protecting others. but also wearing masks help prevent covid water particles getting inside areas where the virus can infect.

  8. A proof from a five year old?! Kids just parrot what they hear in their homes. My four year old says that corona kills some people. So that’s one against one. Please use the brain Hashem gave you and stop always knowing better than anyone but the selfish people who only care about their own comfort. You want a proof for anything. Yet you haven’t given one strand of proof that masks etc. don’t help. There is no less proof that masks help as there is that other medications and vitamins work. Maybe they all do. Either way think about other’s a little. You and your kind care only for yourselves. Just say straight out that you would rather not have to make any changes in your life than do something uncomfortable that may possibly save a Yid’s life.
    Learn a little mussar and maybe you’ll acquire some Yiras Shomayim.

    • First of all who gave proof from a five year old? The 5 year old just said ‘nobody knows’. Secondly, isn’t the 5 year old right that nobody know what coronavirus is? DO YOU KNOW? Instead of attacking others about not using their brains, let’s hear your knowledge what coronavirus is? Of course you don’t know. Which is why you’re attacking. Typical.

      There’s absolutely no logical reason for healthy people to walk around wearing a mask. If you’re afraid of them breathing onto you, YOU should wear the mask but don’t force upon others your illogical stupidities. What a dumb comparison, medication and vitamins with wearing a mask. Am I supposed to wear a mask for my sake or for your sake? You seem confused. If it’s for my sake, it’s none of your business. If it’s for your sake, stay home or run across the street when you see people without masks.

      What does not wearing a mask have to do with yiras Shomayim? Where in the Torah does it say that one is obligated to wear a mask? How about the CDC forcing you to take medicine? Where’s your yisras Shomayim if you don’t?

  9. Hashem sent us a message that he is upset with us. He wants us to do teshuva. Denying the existence of a disease is dangerous. Hashem sent a disease that even the doctors don’t understand. That makes the message that much greater. It doesn’t mean that there is no disease out there. Many people did die. Many people are still in pain. You may not know any of them, but I do. The Torah says that אם תלכו עמי קרי אף אני אלך עמכם בחמת קרי. That means that if you says nothing is really happening then Hashem will punish more. The Torah already foresaw that there would be people like the Corona deniers. Please have Rachmanus on us and look inside of yourselves rather than just blasting anybody who recognizes them yad Hashem.

    • How dare you write such posts when plenty of Gedolei Yisroel against all this corona meshugas. Listen to Rav Amnon Yitzchok shlit”a who might put some intelligence into you.
      Did Hashem tell you He’s upset with us? If you want to tshuva, go ahead, but it’s none of your business if people do tshuva or not. Nobody is denying the existence of diseases. Do you have proof that this new disease exists? Honest doctors clearly state, it’s all baloney. Why do you think you’re smarter than them? People indeed died. A lot of people died. And I know many who died but nobody died from a non-existent disease. They died from pneumonia, they died from car accidents, etc. and hundreds were murdered in hospitals by doctors and nurses and then were added to the corona deaths. Plenty of nurses revealed that they had to write the reason for death as coronavirus when they died of bronchitis and other illness. By the way, where did the Torah “foresee” corona deniers LOL? What the Torah did write is והיית משגע Devorim (28:34)

  10. Government told me to take a flu shot, so I did. Now I’ll never get sick and I’ll live forever. I’m so excited. I’m doing cartwheels now.

  11. Dear nobody died etc.
    Please tell me the names of the gedolei Yisroel you are talking about. And maybe let me in on the secret of who these HONEST DOCTORS are. I would like to contact them myself and hear what they really say. As long as you can’t tell me the names of these HONEST DOCTORS I don’t believe you. You probably heard misquotes and changed statements. You have your twisted agenda. And as long as you can’t tell me what caused so many Yidden to die in such a small amount of time then you are full of baloney. All you can do is say prove it, and the real doctors say like me. That’s what kids in kindergarten do. You are either gullible or intelligence challenged.

    • Nobody said “nobody died.” Why are you taking things out of context? To suit your ignorance and inability to answer intelligently, right? Why do we have to spoon-feed you everything? It’s bad enough that mainstream has been spoon-feeding you all these years with their brainwashing of fake news propaganda. How about you doing some inquiries and research? Yes, doctors, many doctors and Gedolei Yisroel said it’s all fake but this site would not allow their names to be posted. Don’t be lazy and do some research or ask around. It might wake you up.

      Here’s something to test you. If the following doesn’t wake you up, you’re a lost case: Google any 3 digit number then add the words “new cases”. Do you see what’s happening or you’re not savvy enough to grasp the fraud?

      BTW, everyone knows why so many yidden died in such a short time but it was not from this new so-called virus. The casualties were from panic attacks and being hooked up on ventilators which killed them instantly; from those who died because they were starved in hospitals; from those who had an underlying sickness; or those who got their flu vaccination which killed their respiratory immune system. Thanks to Hatzalah many people were saved when they learned what was happening in hospitals.

  12. thank you Dr. I’m sure you have worked countless hours and sleepiness nights combating this, and now have to deal with ignorant fools. There is little that anyone can write that will change them, especially since we must just be ‘sheeple’. (yes, the CDC is paying me to respond). All I can say is thank you, and to those of us who are Boteach B’Hashem, we will continue to do our Hishtadlus, which is to follow mainstream medical advice. Please let the ‘Honest Doctors’ and the ‘Gedolei Yisroel’ know that we are waiting for them to reveal themselves.

  13. Dear will you ever wake up. You obviously have trouble understanding a simple post. I did not write that anybody said nobody died. I addressed my post to someone who had a long title and wrote in the first few words of his name and added in etc. Go get some of your natural vitamins and supplements that your heroes sell and get rich on, and maybe your IQ will rise a bit. Maybe you will finally realize who is the real and gullible fool. Hatzlacha! 🙂

  14. What is seriously wrong with all of you spouting conspiracy theories. Listen i am no sheeple here that gets flu shots but come-on! You seriously want to say that there is no such thing as coronavirus?!?!? My son got sick and lost his smell Wäy before we thought coronavirus was here, my parents both got sick and lost their smell, so many of my brothers and sisters in laws got sick too all with similar symptoms. It was not the flu! Tell me what it was please and what they are actually testing for when you go for a covid test. We all went and took antibody tests. My son who was sick has high antibodies and the rest of us don’t. Do you realize how foolish you sound?! All the people that i know that got sick were all Same symptoms. Almost every family in lakewood had someone that was sick with the virus. You think it was all made up?? I seriously want to know what you are talking about and where you are getting this info from

  15. I went out in 95 degree weather wearing a mask for approximately 20 minutes. When I got home I couldn’t breathe and was sick for a week. For more than a year before Corona I didn’t even get a common cold. I also didn’t have Corona.

    What did the mask do for me?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here