COVID is on the retreat in Connecticut and far of the nation and world.  Whether or not it’s the efficient of vaccinated these most in danger, the cumulative efficient of masking and social distancing or the virus is simply getting drained (hopefully not simply resting earlier than a brand new variant-fueled surge), instances are in speedy decline.  The COVID ACT-Now map, which in January was strong darkish purple, indicating uncontrolled outbreak, is now extra orange than purple, and I predict in a day or two Connecticut may also flip from purple to yellow, indicating the extent has gone from energetic outbreak to Prone to outbreak.  (By no means thoughts, I simply checked it once more and it has formally turned orange).

Our hospital is all the way down to lower than 10 COVID sufferers within the hospital and I’ve gone two days with out having to inform EMS of any COVID positives they transported.  Once I work the road, I nonetheless robe up, however the sufferers with SATs within the 70s are nowhere to be discovered. 

Our Governor has introduced he’s loosening numerous restrictions, with extra to comply with.  I certain hope this isn’t simply one other lull.

However the different pandemic remains to be raging.  A newly launched research revealed in JAMA  taking a look at emergency division visits  for opioid overdoses confirmed a 29% within the interval March to October 2020 over the identical interval in 2019.  In the present day, I learn the most recent knowledge from the state public well being division and the workplace of the Connecticut Medical Examiner.  In 2019, 1200 individuals misplaced their lives to overdoses in Connecticut.  For 2020, the quantity stands at the moment at 1,359 with 78 instances pending overview.  That’s a rise of 13% and threatening to go larger.  Early knowledge from January exhibits 48 deaths within the first two weeks with 170 pending instances past then.  Day-after-day, as a part of my job, I learn the Connecticut SWORD case experiences the place EMS calls in opioid overdoses to the Connecticut Poison Management Middle.  The narratives stay chilling: dad and mom discovering their youngsters useless of their bedrooms; spouses discovering their companions useless within the houses they share; strangers discovering individuals useless in parked vehicles and behind dumpsters.  Hear the drumming.  One other shovel breaks the chilly earth.

If COVID has taught us something, it’s that we’re all susceptible.  We might imagine that individuals who endure from the illness of opioid habit simply determined to change into addicts, but it surely couldn’t be farther from the reality.  Whether or not by way of a medical prescription for an harm (sports activities, automobile accident, fall) or an harmless experimentation, fathers, moms, sons, daughters, family members, mates, and neighbors are despatched down a path from which many won’t return.

We’re our brother’s keeper.  It’s time to focus again on the opioid epidemic and contemplate daring steps (secure injection websites, medical heroin, huge anti-stigma campaigns and hurt discount funding, and most of all love and empathy for all) to finish this horrible public well being disaster.

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