Flatten the fear: Doctors' group seeks gradual lifting of lockdowns


Posted at Sep 22 2020 09:44 AM | Updated as of Sep 22 2020 09:52 AM

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MANILA - A group of doctors and businessmen are recommending for preventive healthcare and the gradual lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns in the country, one of its members said Tuesday.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH) last week launched the #FlattenTheFear campaign, which urges government to end lockdowns and promote intake of proper nutrition to boost one's immune system.

Dr. Joel Lopez said prevention or early treatment of virus patients will "actually help ease the burden in the hospitals." Lockdowns can be gradually lifted once these measures are in place, he added.

Healthcare workers in August had appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to place virus epicenter Metro Manila under modified lockdown to give them a breather.

"Our goal is to build up their immune system because people who eventually end up in hospitals are not able to fight the virus because their immune systems are not optimal in the first place," he told ANC.

"Our goal is for doctors at the barangay or local government level to be able to treat mild to moderate symptoms so they won’t get worse and end up in the hospitals."

The group urges the gradual lifting of lockdowns and to "#FlattenTheFear" as there has been "exaggeration" about the illness in the media and online that "people are almost paranoid of going outside," Lopez said.

"Even if the lockdowns are lifted because of the fear, probably people won’t still go out because of the constant input from the news," he said.

"What we need to look at is the number of death rate because if we keep looking at the number of cases daily it’s just gonna go up because if you keep on testing, a lot of people will turn out positive and some of those are false positives. What we need to look at is the death rate and the death rate is actually low. If you look at that probably a lot of people won’t be as fearful."

The Philippines as of Monday reported 290,190 cases of COVID-19, with 230,233 recoveries and 4,999 deaths.

Aside from wearing face masks to prevent contracting the disease, Lopez recommends getting enough sleep, exercise, eating properly, adequate water intake and exposure to sunlight.

As for medication, Lopez recommends the use of controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, despite the World Health Organization discontinuing its use in COVID-19 treatments after finding it "produces little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care."

"It’s quite controversial but the use of this medication is between the doctor and the patient. You cannot recommend this to everyone cause there are contraindications to the use of it," he said.

The drug "facilitates the entry of zinc into the cell," Lopez said.

"Zinc basically is the bullet and hydroxychloroquine is the gun. Basically zinc is an anti-viral, it’s the one that prevents replication of the virus within the cell," he said.

The Department of Health earlier warned that the CDCP may face sanctions for holding an event that violated the country’s quarantine guidelines as mass gatherings are still unallowed and participants did not wear face masks.