We have tried to summarize the available and pertinent scientific information on SARS-CoV-2 to evaluate the current situation in depth. Our clinic is located in Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany, and the majority of our work is oral and maxillofacial surgery but also some dentistry. Our main focus lies in the following fields: bone and tissue augmentation and implantology in nonhealthy patients; surgical and nonsurgical therapy of all types for jaw bone pathology; surgical and nonsurgical treatment of nasal and paranasal sinus diseases and head and neck oncology. In our country, dental and medical offices are open during the coronavirus crisis under the regulations of the Robert-Koch-Instituts (RKI, the highest German authority on health issues), a decision we completely concur with.
- A) Introduction
As a matter of fact, we critically evaluate regulations for their practical application, and as oral and maxillofacial surgeons who lead a private practice and a department in the regional hospital we regularly have to work in potentially hazardous environments and treat patients with infectious diseases. However, we are not specialized in virology and hygiene sciences. Thus, this is not an official statement but simply the result of our privately conducted research on SARS-CoV-2 since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, in January 2020. As the scientific knowledge in this field expands rapidly, we continuously try to update ourselves in order to achieve the highest level of protection for our patients, out team, and ourselves.
We completely understand the fear that troubles health workers, and we share the desire to protect our families and ourselves. Yet, we still have to fulfil our duty and provide patient care.
So what do we know? SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus from the family of the so-called Coronaviridae that has been known since the 1960s. The special subtype we are currently confronted with was identified in January 2020. This means that this virus is new but its kind is not, and thus it has features that are known and have been researched for a long time.
The current crisis that followed the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 and its rapid worldwide spread challenges the health systems all over the world and threatens to overload their capacities. Although there are discussions in scientific and popular media about its dangers, COVID-19 is a severe disease and thus concerns are justified. Furthermore, it won’t just disappear.
However, there are some basic rules that should be followed by medical professionals and healthcare workers in any crisis, but especially in pandemic situations.
Nothing but verified information should be disseminated. Professionals have the task to critically evaluate the situation and deal with the situation with the appropriate caution but also prevent the spread of panic. True experts and institutions shall set the guidelines, not single individuals. Within one clinic or office, the guidelines can be interpreted differently depending on local and individual risk factors. However, there is no need to publicly claim that one’s individual solution shall become universal, as this causes confusion in public opinion. This is especially true for situations that will persist for some time.
For an assessment on how long we will face the problem, the following article is recommended. www.medium.com
The goal of a lockdown and the similar measures taken by so many countries right now is not to prevent everyone from getting infected—the aim is to flatten the curve of the infection so that the heath system may not be overloaded. Although COVID-19 dominates people’s perception right now, all other diseases are still with us, and thus the treatment of the sick and injured of any kind has to proceed as normal as possible.
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