Reflections amidst COVID-19
In the past month, the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is now known, has changed the way we live our lives, not just in the United States, but all over the world. The academic history of pandemics is a fascinating topic, as seen in a recent article by Nicholas LePan, on the Visual Capitalist's website.
The earliest pandemic recorded on the CDC's website is the 1918 Spanish Flu. It spread worldwide between 1918 and 1919, infecting around 500 million people. At the time, this represented one-third of the world's population. Ultimately, the Spanish Flu claimed 40-50 million lives worldwide. When looking at historic death tolls, the Black Plague took 200 million lives between 1347-1351; an estimated 30-50% of Europe's population.
Granted, medicine and healthcare are vastly different in 2020 that in 1350, or even in 1918. Transportation is vastly different, and we live our daily lives in a much different way. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of March 20, 2020, there were 15,219 confirmed cases in the United States, with the largest concentrations in the states of New York, Washington, and California. The number of confirmed cases worldwide is now at 266,073, as reported by the World Health Organization on March 21,2020.
Amidst the tragedies of this pandemic, Americans are rising to meet the challenge. Countless distilleries have started making hand sanitizer; communities are making face masks and donating them to their local hospitals. Neighbors are sharing food staples, books, and movies in record numbers. My own parents were just babies during World War II, but I imagine that families bonded similarly in those days (minus the social distancing we are slowly getting used to).
Here at the UMTRC, we have seen a tsunami of requests for information on telehealth. As demands for technical assistance continue to skyrocket, we are working on a plan to provide a series of short webinars to answer your questions. The reimbursement for various telemedicine waivers is changing very rapidly, and we are committed to staying on top of these changes so that we can assist our clients with the most recent information we have available. We have created a new COVID-19 resource page with links to Medicare and state Medicaid guidelines and executive orders in our region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Please join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn to receive updates on our new resources.
Remember, We're All In This Together!