BOSTON (WHDH) - While doctors have become more familiar with the coronavirus and are able to use less invasive treatments, an expert says people still need to take precautions instead of being cavalier about the virus until it’s too late.

“The hardest thing is to see patients who come in and are talking to you and don’t expect to be on the verge of dying and then realizing in that moment because this just hits them suddenly, that they are,” said Dr. Michael Ieong of Boston Medical Center. “It’s seeing somebody go into that kind of dark tunnel and seeing how scared they are as they go in.”

Ieong said doctors have refined their treatment of the virus, and while ventilators are still needed for the very sickest COVID patients, doctors are now using less invasive treatments like oxygen masks and helmets.

“One of the things that we feel we’ve gotten better at is gauging when to intubate and waiting longer and seeing if we can get somebody through without intubating them,” Ieong said. “I would say we are much better at keeping people off the ventilator.”

But Ieong said he is disheartened when he sees people not taking the virus seriously and is especially disappointed to see so many people lining up at airports to travel for Thanksgiving.
“They had a negative COVID test and so they think they’re OK. But they could just be infected right then during this whole travel piece … and then infect whoever they’re going to go visit,” Ieong said.

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