I’m Dr. George Bishopric, and I sat in the same seats as you…… well, almost the same seats, as they tore down the old Riverview I went to, but whatever the building (and unbelievable advances in information technology), life is more the same than different.
You are heading back to school, where you are preparing academically for your future, but just as importantly, developing the social skills that will be needed in life. Unfortunately, anything that is “social” puts you and those around you in the path of the new Coronavirus. It’s hard for me to imagine anything more difficult than to be in your teen years, where everything is about developing friendships and relationships beyond your own immediate family, and be told to stay home.
How can you avoid infection? You’ve been swamped by information on TV, and I think you know. Avoid large groups of people, big parties, sports, concerts, dances. Kind of everything fun. While it’s obvious that staying alone in your room, probably with the lights off, is a great strategy, I doubt many, including myself, could deal with it for more than a few hours. You’re going to have to use your own heads to navigate this. Reduce your outside contacts to a few close friends to protect yourselves and your family.
Most important: When you are out and about, you need to wear a mask, and you need to help your friends to wear theirs, too. Always. It’s also important to practice social distancing. Stay six feet apart when in public. Hand-wash regularly. Try not to touch your face.
How about things you touch? Your cell phone is constantly in contact with your hands and face, so I’d clean it a couple of times a day with a wipe that won’t damage the screen. Hand sanitizer is a help when dealing with “high touch” surfaces, like railings, door knobs, and locks that lots of people have contact with
every hour. I don’t think you need to be crazy about clothing, back packs, etc., but it would be a good idea to clean your clothes after each wearing. That includes your gym clothes, and yes, I know what your bedroom floors look like! And no, I don’t sterilize the mail before opening it. This is mostly an airborne virus.
Should you feel sick, you need to tell your parents and advise the school and your doctor, if you have one. You should not go to school or social activities if you feel sick. If you don’t have a thermometer at home, this would be a good time to buy one. If you have a temperature and/or you have been exposed to someone with known COVID infection, you should talk to a health care professional about quarantining yourself.
In closing, the virus is real. You have the power to help control its spread through the population and protect your family and friends.
About Dr. Bishopric:
Dr. George Bishopric graduated in 1973 from Riverview High School, and graduated in 1977 from Duke University with a combined degree in Zoology and French Literature.
He earned his MD from the University of South Florida in 1980, where he did a residency in pathology, followed by fellowships in Surgical Pathology and Hematopathology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Hospital. He finished his medical training at the Hôpital St-Louis in Paris.
Dr. Bishopric was in private practice from 1989-1993, when he left to pursue other interests. He has been an associate professor of pathology at the University of Miami for the last decade. He has consulted with the National Institutes of Health on infectious diseases/drug development for about the same time and currently participates in new drug development at the National Institutes of Health.