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Local physicians reject doctor’s call to re-open society

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KGET) — Two local doctors spoke out Thursday, rejecting Dr. Dan Erickson’s call to re-open society, and to end to the shelter-in-place order for people not showing symptoms.

“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. On Facebook Live Thursday, he shared his expertise on COVID-19.

“It is a killer virus,” he said. “It spreads very rapidly, and it doesn’t spare anybody,” Amin continued.

Interviewed by his daughter Dr. Nimisha Amin, herself a medical doctor, the senior Amin was emphatic.

“Even an asymptomatic person — 25 percent of them — can spread the virus without knowing it. As a result social isolation may be a help.”

The younger Amin replied by repeating “25 percent of individuals may be infected with COVID-19, but be completely asymptotic.”

“That is correct,” her dad answered. “They may be entirely asymptotic, [and] they will not even know they are harboring the virus. And yet they can spread the virus.”

“That’s why we need everyone to be practicing social distancing,” the younger Amin replied.

On Wednesday, Dr. Erickson, co-owner of Accelerated Urgent Care, argued that sheltering in place could lead to weakened immune systems. However, Dr. Amin said Thursday such is not the case:

“Social isolation has no bearing, no effect on the immune system at all,” Amin stated.

Regarding Dr. Erickson’s claim that this virus so far has proven “similar in nature to the seasonal flu,” Dr. Hemmal Kothary Thursday morning shared otherwise during an interview on 17 News at Sunrise.

When asked if it is fair to make such a comparison at this point, Kothary, the chief medical officer with Dignity Health’s Central California division, answered, “Right now, I would say absolutely not. The flu acts a lot different. 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.”

On testing, Amin is calling for more-wide-spread FDA-approved testing beyond just those with symptoms. “We may be missing a lot of people who are entirely asymptomatic and spreading the virus,” he said.

Going forward, Amin shared what could happen if society re-opens too soon.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if we abruptly remove the restrictions at present, which has helped us a lot, it will definitely flare up…increasing the number of cases as well as deaths.”

Dr. Amin also advised people to listen to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and infectious disease doctors including Dr. Anthony Fauci.

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