Doctor Shares Results of Coronavirus Antibody Tests in East Texas
Several weeks ago, Dr. Michael Iverson with Urgent Doc let me know that his business now had IgG testing available for the general public. The test measures the presence of any the Coronavirus antibodies in a person. This test basically will let a person know whether or not they have had the virus that leads to COVID-19.
Out of nearly 330 tests administered, a little over 2% came back positive for the antibodies. The chart breakdown below shows that testing at the Urgent Doc locations in Lufkin and Livingston had no positive IgG tests. Keep in mind, this is testing for Asymptomatic individuals (Not with any current symptoms). As of early last week in East Texas, based on Symptomatic testing, there have been 1491 tests performed. Of those, there were 201 positive tests in Angelina county, 54 in Polk and 31 in San Augustine (from CHI St Luke’s data), which resulted in a 19% positive rate for those tested. In Nacogdoches County, there have been around 1510 tests performed with 273 positive cases.
Urgent Doc’s results from Asymptomatic (Not with any current symptoms) IgG testing:
Dr. Iverson is quick to point that this is a disease not to be taken lightly. Over 100,000 deaths in America have been reported. Around 3 dozen persons in the Deep East Texas region have succumbed to COVID-19. However, Dr. Iverson points out that there is also a lot of suffering and potential loss of lives due to the lock downs, business closures, and quarantines.
According to Iverson, overall, doctors’ offices are at 5-50% capacity according to Texas Medical Organizations, the median is closer to 20-25%.
Under normal circumstances, there are approximately 5,000 positive cancer diagnosis in the U.S. every day. During the Coronavirus shutdown, most if not all cancer screenings have not occurred either because doctor offices were closed, or patients were afraid to see their doctor for fear of catching the virus. That translates into as much as 450,000 positive cancer diagnosis’s that were not performed during a 3 months time frame from the beginning of March until the end of May. In treating cancer, early detection is key. During the last 10 years cancer survival rates by as much as 20-25 % based on early detection.
Dr. Iverson pushes the point further by indicating that we are now some 12 weeks into the Coronavirus related lock downs in America and he makes the following hypothetical breakdown of cancer diagnosis and mortality
"let’s say 20% of patients are still seeing their doctor, that catches 30,000 out of 150,000 new cancers per month. The overall mortality rate of a positive cancer diagnosis is 33%. Without the benefit of early detection, the mortality rate will surely increase. Worst case scenario, the lack of detecting cancer over 12 weeks could result in cancer cases not benefitting from early detection. We don’t know how that would affect the death rate, but if the death rate jumps from 33% to 50% due to a lack of early detection, that equates to 60,000 additional cancer deaths caused by the current measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The same will be true for other diseases (heart disease, strokes, etc). We don’t know the extent of this, and we won’t for some time."
Dr. Iverson is concerned that deaths from the 'cure and containment' of the disease could eventually exceed deaths from the disease itself. He endorses the need to restart the economy and our lives moving forward with common sense measures, not fear and horror. Conspiracy theories and pontification will not help in any way, instead constructive dialogue, discussion, and problem solving need to lead the way locally, statewide and nationally.
Urgent Doc in Lufkin, Livingston, Nacogdoches, and Houston remains open with affordable options to serve the public.