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Peter Smith

Yesterday, Nic and I hosted a virtual webinar with a close friend and Emergency Room physician, Dr. Kaveh Kavoosi, who is on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 in Canada.

With so much uncertainty and misinformation, I wanted to ensure the Blockchain.com team, our families, and our community have access to high-quality information and guidance on how to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors.

From myself and our entire Blockchain.com team, thank you to the brave men and women putting their lives on the line every day to fight for the rest of us.

I encourage you reading this to do the same, and embrace the guidance from Dr. Kavoosi so we can not only get back to “normal” but to improve upon the World we’re leaving behind this pandemic.

Socially isolate and distance yourself immediately, to the greatest extent possible.

Stay safe, Peter

Note: This article does not represent medical advice or the public opinion of Blockchain.com. It is a compilation of notes from an AMA with Dr. Kavoosi held on March 24, 2020. We are not medical professionals, but believe in sharing all actionable information with our community to best serve the common good.

Dr. Kavoosi on when he realized it was a real crisis

The crypto world and Blockchain.com are very data-driven. I share that view.

My alarm bells started to really ring in January, and I began wearing a mask for my flights during that month. I got many skeptical looks, given that the broader public wasn’t particularly concerned. Upon return, I started asking my hospital and others about their stock of personal protective equipment (“PPE”), which were very clearly going to experience a shortage should a surge of infected patients need treatment.

By February, the common cough — usually brushed off around hospitals — was taken much more seriously and inspired visceral reactions of fear from both medical professionals and civilians. It seemed like my colleagues and I started double-checking our PPEs every 15–20 seconds, and that’s when the shortage of PPEs around the world really hit home for everyone.

The global healthcare system was at least a month behind in true preparations — gathering PPEs, ventilators, and necessary supplies. Harder yet, the supply chains for the majority of these goods stem from China and were disrupted by the virus.

This is truly the first time in generations we’ve seen anything like this.

Dr. Kavoosi on the impact of social distancing and isolation

Viruses have one goal — survival.

It’s hard to capture the true depth of impact social distancing and isolation can have on our mental health and economy, but it’s vital for everyone to understand the payoff it has for saving countless lives and disrupting the network that enables viruses like Covid-19 to thrive.

We are that network. We are the vectors for transmission, and therefore its survival.

If it was possible to implement widespread no-contact for everyone, we’d see a 2–3 week progression of the infected count increase as there is up to 14 days between transmission of the virus and first symptoms to be found. We’d then see the rate drop off for new cases and eventually a drop off in mortalities. Not only would that let us know that these measures are working, it would reduce the pressure currently weighing on the World’s healthcare system.

The key now is to really commit to self-isolation and social distancing to give the World more time to study the disease, slow its spread, and bring the ill through recovery.

Please, unless you have trouble breathing or are in one of the most vulnerable groups (elderly or those with pre-existing conditions), please consult with your medical professionals virtually before going to the hospital. There is a shortage of supplies and human resources to attend to every patient, so we all must conserve those scarce assets for those most at risk.

We’re all going through this together, feeling the withdrawal of human interaction, but we have to do it to protect everyone — from those with pre-existing conditions to the elderly, and even those of us who are considered completely healthy.

Dr. Kavoosi on measures we can implement day-to-day

Social distancing, first and foremost. Then practicing good hygiene — hand washing, not touching your face — beyond that, I get asked a lot about masks.

Surgical masks (pictured here) don’t offer much protection for yourself, but can reduce up to 90% of the spray from a sneeze or cough.

N-95 Masks (pictured below) are much more functional, but are drastically understocked across the World’s healthcare systems. But even they aren’t perfect — virus particles (“virion”) are so small they still get through.

Further, you have to use the right-sized mask to ensure a close fit, can’t accidentally touch the inside of the mask or break the seal, and after 15 minutes they begin to lose efficacy according to 3M — although the CDC has recommended longer use due to the global shortage as they provide better protection than nothing.

If you have a stockpile of these masks, I’d encourage you to consider donating to your local medical facilities who desperately need them and cannot wait for their supply to catch-up.

Plus, if you self-isolate and quarantine, you won’t need one!

Beyond those measures, I recommend people disinfect deliveries, packages, and groceries upon returning home from the essential trips to the store. The virus has displayed an ability to survive for a wide range of time periods based on the surface, so it’s best to be cautious and take every measure to disinfect and throw packaging away as soon as possible. SARS and MERS were found to have survived in freezers for months, so don’t assume that just because it’s in the freezer it’s clean — disinfect everything.

Dr. Kavoosi on what he would do if he had unilateral control of the policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic

First, I’d make consumption of horseshoe bats illegal. We have known that they are a ticking time bomb for viruses since at least 2007, and decisive action could reduces everyone’s risk.

Globally, healthcare officials should stockpile 7–8x their current necessity of ventilators, PPEs, and supplies we’ll need to mitigate the next crisis. We’re seeing now how challenging, even impossible, it can be to get supplies when we need them on the front lines.

I recommend quarantines and self-isolation begin faster. Yes there are substantial economic and psychological impacts, but we have to shift our thinking to take action immediately to protect everyone as fast as possible.

I also think the military should be viewed as a vital partner to citizens, instead of the fear of marshal law. We’re seeing more action by militaries now to establish field hospitals and treatment centers, and that will make a big impact.

If you have further questions or would like to reach out to Dr. Kavoosi directly, you can find him on Twitter and on Instagram .