Springfield doctor clears confusion from WHO reports, hospitals revisiting visitor policies

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 6:47 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

There has been a lot of confusion when it comes to the coronavirus.

First, masks weren't needed. Now, most doctors say they're essential.

Then, this week, a doctor with the World Health Organization said people with no coronavirus symptoms "very rarely" spread the virus. Then, the very next day, she reversed course, saying that was based on a small sampling, and more research is needed.

The infectious disease specialist at CoxHealth says it can be confusing, but shouldn't be with reading beyond the headlines.

However, one local man says he believes the conflicting reports are playing into why he can't see his wife after she had a stroke, yet locally, people are allowed to gather in groups of 50 now.

"It doesn't add up," said Brian Rushing. "Of course they had restrictions on children, I understand that, so I was like, when can I come back up and see her, and they were like well, we're not allowing visitors. I was like I'm going to see my wife!"

Rushing says it has been a difficult battle, but he eventually got in.

His wife was admitted at Mercy Monday morning, he got in late that night, after some strong words. Hospitals acknowledge that this is difficult time for families, but say their policies are all about keeping people safe.

They still worry sick people, seemingly without any coronavirus symptoms, could still carry the virus in with them.

Cox Health's infectious disease specialist admits the WHO flip-flop on the headlines this week-- doesn't help clear up that situation. But it could be a step toward eventually loosening similar rules. Dr. Robin Trotman says it's important to read the whole article, not just headlines.

"They're not saying asymptomatic people don't transmit. We know that they do because we've done tracing and we've found clusters of people who were all asymptomatic and we know they transmitted to one another. So they do transmit virus, but what they were saying at the WHO is the majority of transmissions come from symptomatic or pre-symptomatic people. So we still have to be cautious in the hospital," Trotman said. "It says it looks like most of the transmissions don't come from asymptomatic people, they come from symptomatic people. The problem is the doctor lady on Twitter said it transmits less this way, so people latched onto that, and by no means is she saying asymptomatic people don't transmit, but she's saying there are a lot of people who are asymptomatic people out there, and of those people, the majority of the transmissions probably actually come from sick people or people who are going to get sick."

Cox and Mercy are re-visiting their visitor policies. They might loosen restrictions soon, and we'll keep you posted if and when local hospitals have any changes.