Two doctors, who have administered more than 5,000 coronavirus tests, say that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu, the quarantine is not helping with building coronavirus immunity, and they are confident that reopening is safe.
The two frontline physicians, Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, are the owners of Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, California. The doctors are presenting medical advice about the coronavirus that is far different than what health officials have been saying over the past weeks.
Last week, the doctors gave a news conference to deliver their COVID-19 findings.
"Do we need to still shelter in place? Our answer is emphatically no," Erickson said. "Do we need businesses to be shut down? Emphatically no. Do we need to test them and get them back to work? Absolutely."
Accelerated Urgent Care has tested 5,213 patients within the county, which makes up half of all testing done in Kern County. "Now that we have the facts, it's time to get back to work," Erickson said.
Erickson noted that the coronavirus and seasonal flu are "similar in their prevalence and death rates."
"If you study the numbers in 2017 and 2018, we had 50 to 60 million with the flu," Erickson said. "And we had a similar death rate in the deaths the United States were 43,545 — similar to the flu of 2017-2018. We always have between 37,000 and 60,000 deaths in the United States, every single year. No pandemic talk. No shelter-in-place. No shutting down businesses."
Erickson added that quarantining could lead to weakened immune systems.
"Sheltering in place decreases your immune system. And then as we all come out of shelter in place with a lower immune system and start trading viruses, bacteria — what do you think is going to happen? Disease is going to spike," Erickson explained. "And then you've got diseases spike — amongst a hospital system with furloughed doctors and nurses. This is not the combination we want to set up for a healthy society. It doesn't make any sense."
Erickson said he talked to emergency room doctors who said they are being "pressured" to add the "coronavirus" as the cause of death.
"You know it's interesting, when I'm writing up my death report, I'm being pressured to add 'COVID.' Why is that? Why are we being pressured to add COVID? To maybe increase the numbers and make it look a little bit worse than it is? I think so," he said.
"This is not about science. This is not even about COVID," Erickson stated.
However, not everyone is sold on the green-light advice coming from the doctors at Accelerated Urgent Care.
"This virus is not a virus to be taken very lightly," said Dr. Navin Amin, an infectious diseases specialist who has resided in Bakersfield for more than 40 years. "It is a killer virus. It spreads very rapidly, and it doesn't spare anybody."
"Even an asymptomatic person — 25 percent of them — can spread the virus without knowing it," Dr. Nimisha Amin, who is Navin's daughter, added. " As a result, social isolation may be a help. That's why we need everyone to be practicing social distancing."
"Social isolation has no bearing, no effect on the immune system at all," Amin stated.
"The flu acts a lot different," said Dr. Hemmal Kothary, who argued that the flu and coronavirus are not similar. "This virus is a lot more virulent. It passes from people to people a lot more aggressively. The symptoms are a lot more aggressive. It seems to affect a lot of age groups the flu typically won't affect."
"The doctor at Accelerated has spoken with our director. Our director has not concurred with the statements that were made yesterday about the need to reopen at this time," said Michelle Corson, Public Information Officer for Kern County Public Health.
"There are top medical minds in our state, in our county, in our nation that are providing this guidance to us. And we concur that these are actions that we should be taking right now, and we are steadfast in our recommendation to our community to continue this," Corson said.
The Kern County Public Health Department responded with the following statement:
In our ongoing effort to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our residents and healthcare system, we continue to adhere to the guidance issued by Governor Newsom regarding the stay at home order.
Kern County Public Health Services recommends the following protective measures:
Stay at home except for essential needs.
Practice social distancing.
Wash hands with soap and water often.
Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick.
Wear face covering while in public if you are unable to maintain social distancing.
You can watch the entire COVID-19 news briefing with Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi below.
Dr. Erickson COVID-19 Briefingwww.youtube.com
Dr. Erickson COVID-19 Briefing, Pt. 2www.youtube.com