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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Cracks in the foundation

  • Author: Steven Compton
    | Opinion
  • Updated: November 21
  • Published November 21

Many thanks to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for alerting Alaskans to the new crisis level for COVID-19.

COVID-19 may not seem like much of a threat until it has entered your world, but then it’s a big deal. The less you socially distance, the greater the risk to you and your circle. Google “pastor death COVID-19” and you will appreciate the current risks of being highly social. Many well-meaning people have discounted this virus, to their peril.

COVID-19 survival numbers don’t tell the whole story. We have seen cardiac deaths, but there are real concerns about long-term disabilities among those who survive. An early study found abnormalities in the hearts of three in four people who had recently recovered from COVID-19 and ongoing heart muscle inflammation in more than half. We know that other viral heart infections result in long-term heart injury, so stay tuned.

It’s no secret that Alaska’s COVID-19 numbers are way up. Until now, Alaska has been able to maintain the highest standards of medical care by keeping COVID-19 caseloads low. This week we are starting to see statewide cracks and small failures, which may turn into chasms and large failures in the coming weeks. Health care providers are themselves becoming ill with COVID-19, so anticipate shortages in caregivers and hospital workers in general. Last week, an Anchorage hospital was missing all of its six electricians. Not good.

Alaskans look out for other Alaskans. Right now, that means keeping our social circles small, and masking when we are outside of our households and physically close to fellow Alaskans. Let’s do our part to stem Alaska’s largest health crisis.

— Steven Compton, MD

President, Alaska Heart Institute

Anchorage

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