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Dr. Robert Winters has been in private-practice in Santa Monica since 1992 and is Board-Certified in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine.

 

Welcome to COVID CONSULTANT and Westside Travel Medicine and Immunizations, Inc. As an Infectious Disease physician, I have received many questions about the COVID-19 pandemic from friends, patients, total strangers, and various media outlets. This global disease has not only destroyed the business/recreational travel industry, but it also severely impacted large portions of the world economy, leaving many Americans and others worried, frustrated and helpless with regard to the future.

Many believe the social distancing and business closures have been excessive or even unnecessary. Time will tell who was right in this discussion but I suspect the less severe clinical outcomes seen in the United States are, in part, due to the very social restrictions that so many have complained about. Who knows how the COVID-19 crisis will play out across America and the world over the next twelve months? Could this be a “dress rehearsal for the next pandemic?

In addition to COVID-19, the past few years have also seen the return of common health concerns including measles, mumps, hepatitis A and seasonal influenza. Influenza alone is responsible for 10-50 million infections every year in the United States, with up to 50,000 deaths. I am in no hurry for the next “bug” to arrive, but it most certainly will. That is why annual influenza, hepatitis A/B, measles/mumps/rubella and pneumonia vaccinations remain a strong recommendation by most physicians, including me.

While we watch the COVID-19 story unfold, I suggest we all take a deep breath (while wearing a mask), wash our hands, and maintain a six-foot separation from others.

Robert Winters, MD

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