First of all, I want to thank the many readers of these notes that took the time to send their thoughts and any suggestions. Truly, your response has been remarkable and my staff and I appreciate it (and you!) greatly.
Life in Nebraska is somewhat less grim than elsewhere, though we have had deaths and infections with COVID-19. Our hearts go out to the individuals in New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington State and Louisiana. We hope you get back to something approaching better soon. We are one of the few states that isn’t on lockdown, which is concerning and frustrating to me. The best way for us to limit this would be to observe a national lockdown and those who observe it voluntarily will be safer and less likely to get this awful virus.
Our fulfillment staff taking extra and necessary precautions.
Our son, Daniel, is a first-year resident in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and is currently working on the COVID floor and observing the brutal course that this disease can take. Patients can turn from being fine to intubated in a very short period of time. The disease spares no one other than very young individuals, so it is his opinion that any and all preventative measures, at least until a reliable treatment or vaccine is developed, is wise. The vaccine is 18 months away at least, according to the NIH, so that is not imminent.
What I am doing and what I recommend my staff does is the following:
Wear a mask everywhere. There is some debate among people as to whether this is necessary, but I am telling you that it is necessary.
Wear gloves when in the store. Wash your produce thoroughly and wipe off the grocery items with bleach or a wipe when you return from the store (all while wearing gloves).
Don’t attend anything you don’t have to – this means any meetings, religious events or social gatherings. Skype, Google Hangout, FaceTime and Zoom are a safe and great way to keep in touch. If you do have to go to the office, try your best to avoid talking with colleagues or, if you do, space apart by 6 feet at least! And wear your mask.
Protect your parents and older friends like their lives depend on it as they may not be as informed as to the seriousness of this issue. Granted, those who are in their 70s and above have wisdom that many lack, but they also can be less careful when it comes to touching items in grocery stores or gathering with friends. Even a game of bridge, with the sharing of cards, can lead to germ spread and the potential for coronavirus. Please don’t risk this.
Don’t rely on any miracle medicine for this virus as none of them are able to bring patients back from the brink of disaster. The medicines that are quoted in the news conferences are, at best, mildly helpful. The best thing is to scrupulously avoid going out and do your best to stay in place.
As for what we are doing in our office:
We are wearing masks throughout the day and take temperatures three times a day while in the office. We have transitioned our practice to nearly 100% Telemedicine and are learning to work with the challenges of it. I still am loving the ability to see people from far away. This week I saw patients from Hawaii and Tennessee, in addition to my regular Nebraska patients. LovelySkin was always my opportunity to have ‘pen-pals’ across the world, but this has made it possible to meet many of them in ‘person’, which I love. We still see emergency patients and our skin cancer patients, but are trying to limit the need for them to come in and endanger themselves, unless there is a very good reason!
The staff that is processing orders is highly controlled. Any and all contacts are considered suspicious if they have a fever and staff who may have been affected are off until they get tested. So far, we are very fortunate that, of our 120+ staff, no one has been infected or been with anyone who is infected. The odds that this will stay this way are very low, but for now we are doing great.
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we are fully stocked and have been running two shifts to keep up with the demand, which is huge. Our warehouse staff was given a bonus for the hard work they are doing and we have retained all our other staff and intend to continue to do so.
Our hearts go out to all of you and your families. We have seen deaths in Nebraska and we know many of you are in areas where it is unrelenting. Our son, as one of the frontline healthcare workers, is in our minds all the time, along with the other brave personnel. I have volunteered with the University of Nebraska Medical Center if they need me and hope they don’t but am ready if they do. Our daughter is in San Francisco and staying in place with her rescue pug and my parents are safe in their independent living center.
As always, we will try our very best to keep going and keep stock available. We are focusing on items that are helpful, such as those for dry hands, irritation and items that aren’t readily available due to store and salon closures. We will continue to adjust and add products as the opportunity arises in order to support you, our loyal customers and patients.
One parting word of hope
This crisis has focused the world on solving a problem together like no other problem has in the past, at least that I can recall. I can already see innovations that will likely last well past COVID, with benefits that will last for a long time and spin off future innovation. It is beyond tragic that these benefits will come on the basis of so much suffering by humanity, but they will come all the same.
For the time being, I wish all of you who are headed into a holiday season, whether it is Easter, Passover or Ramadan (or another holiday), a reflective and family/friend-oriented time. For those of you, like ourselves, who can’t get together with friends and family, I encourage a Skype or Google Hangout session to bring everyone together. We have done this recently and it is remarkably uplifting.
Jackie, our P.A., and myself in the clinic.
Daniel, our son, and his girlfriend Steffi, in the park in Boston.
Claire, our daughter, with her mask.
God bless you all,
Joel Schlessinger, M.D. Board-Certified Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon CEO of LovelySkin