BAKERSFIELD, Calif., (KBAK/KBFX) — Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Accelerated Urgent Care are calling for the county to reopen despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
The two held a press conference Wednesday, during which, they talked about the coronavirus pandemic both at the state and local levels.
During the conference, Dr. Erickson said patients in need of other treatments are not coming into doctors' offices because of fear.
"When I talk to E.R. physicians around the country, what's happening? Well because COVID has become the focus, people with heart disease, people with cancer, hypertension, and various things that are critical are choosing not to come in based on fear. So what that's doing is forcing the healthcare system to focus on COVID and not focus on a myriad of other things that are critical, because we don't have the staff there and the major complaint is fear," said Erickson.
The doctors talked about the quarantine measures currently in place and stated that quarantining the healthy goes against what they studied.
"We decided to keep people at home and isolate them, even though everything we've studied about quarantine, typically you quarantine the sick. When someone has measles you quarantine them. We've never seen the healthy, where you take those without disease and without symptoms and lock them in your home. So some of these things from what we've studied from immunology and microbiology aren't really meshing with what we know as people of scientific minds who read this stuff," said Erickson.
However, Kern County Public Health, the CDC, the California Department of Health, and the Governor of California are continuing to recommend the public practice safe social distancing practices during this time. They recommend people stay six feet apart, wear masks when in heavily congested areas, wash hands regularly, and avoid touching your face. They also continue to recommend self-quarantine measures to ensure the illness is not spread to others.
Public Health offered the following response when Eyewitness News reached out for comment on the press conference: "In our ongoing effort to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our residents and healthcare system, we continue to adhere to the guidance issued by Governor Newsom regarding the stay at home order. Kern County Public Health Services recommends the following protective measures:"
When discussing the illness, Dr. Erickson talked about the number of infections in California and compared that to the numbers in Kern County.
"In Kern County, we've tested, 5,213 people and we have 340 positive COVID cases. Well, that's 6.5 percent of the population. Which would indicate a widespread viral infection similar to the flu," Dr. Erickson said. He continued, "So if you look at California, these numbers are from yesterday, we have 33,865 COVID cases out of a total of 280,900 total tested that's 12 percent of Californians were positive for COVID."
Dr. Erickson went on to say that the initial projections for the illness showed millions of cases of death and called them "woefully inaccurate." He said those results were not materializing.
"Well we have 39.5 million people, if we just take a basic calculation and extrapolate that out, that equates to about 4.7 million cases throughout the state of California. Which means this thing is widespread, that's the good news. We've seen 1,227 deaths in the state of California with a possible incidents or prevalence of 4.7 million. That means you have a 0.03 chance of dying from COVID-19 in the state of California," said Dr. Erickson.
Dr. Erickson asked if numbers that low necessitated people sheltering in place, shutting down medical systems, and putting people out of work.
"I also wanted to mention that 96 percent of people in California who get COVID recover," he said.
Earlier Wednesday Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference in which he said the state is not quite ready to reopen and that he is continuing to work with other government entities to reopen the state when possible. He also stated the importance of widespread testing for the illness.
Eyewitness News is currently reaching out to Public Health as well as other doctors' offices to further talk about the coronavirus and the importance of safe social distancing practices.