Dr. Savoy Brummer, an emergency medicine trained physician and vice president for Western Business for Vituity, helps build local practices of emergency departments across the country and sets them up on a trajectory to be successful. Having served on American College of Emergency Physicians Diversity and Inclusion task force, Dr. Brummer says, “We are now focusing on managing this coronavirus pandemic and trying to save the communities and neighborhoods in which our people live.”
One of the nation’s leading experts in diversity and cultural competency in emergency medicine, Dr. Brummer cautions, “the misinformation circling around communities of color are becoming very dangerous, especially within the African American community.” Regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), he says, “For instance, early on, people said that African Americans could not be affected by the virus. That type of blatant misinformation has been killing people.” Dr. Brummer says that while there is the notion that millennials are invincible, 20% of the people admitted to the hospital in the United States are between the ages of 20 and 44. He says, “That is something that we didn’t actually think would occur. So the public is fi nding out that young people, do in fact, get sick. A 12-year old in Atlanta was on a ventilator, a 30-year old in Nigeria fell ill, and 35-year old principal passed away in New York—all with no preexisting conditions.”
While in the midst of a heatwave here in Pasadena, Dr. Brummer says that the safest place to be amid this pandemic, is indoors. He said, “Just think that every single time you walk outside, you are risking your life. Young people have cabin fever. It’s spring and it’s been hot, but you have to stay indoors. It can save your life and the lives of people you love.” He continues, “This is going to be a long road…several months. For people in high risk categories, like those with preexisting conditions and the elderly, you have to create a social circle where you get deliveries or have folks to go out to shop or run errands for you.” He said that instead of “going to an irrational place in your psyche and over buying toilet tissue just to feel a sense of control, redirect that time and nervous energy to become educated and really learn the things that will change your life and benefi t the lives of your family.”
Dr. Brummer says that if you do have to go outside of your home, wear a mask. “Up to 50% of the cases of coronavirus were received from people who did not even know they had symptoms. So the purpose of wearing a mask is to make sure that people, who may have coronavirus and not know it, are not spreading he virus. That is the biggest reason why the recommendations were made. It is not necessarily only to provide protection for you, when you go to the grocery store, but also for others.”
“An important best practice to stress,” says Dr. Brummer, “is to safely and correctly put on and take off a face mask.” He urges that “when you are removing it, do not touch the front because that is where all of the germs reside. Also, do not touch your nose, eyes, or face, and be sure to wash your hands for 30 seconds with warm water and soap immediately after removing it.” He continues, “You should consider that after wearing the mask, it is now dirty and immediately drop it in the washing machine if it is just a bandana, or throw it away if it is disposable. Be very careful to decontaminate yourself when removing and taking off your mask. By the time you bring it into the house, your clothes may be contaminated, and you are completely unaware, and thus, you spread the virus all over.”
Although many masks are not intended to be reused, if you only have access to one disposable mask and are unable to get another one, Dr. Brummer says that heat and ultraviolet (UV) light are very effective at sanitizing and disinfecting objects. Depending on your resources, there are several ways you can do it. He suggests using the steam from boiling water or purchasing a towel sterilizing device.” However, you do want to follow the specifi c decontamination and reuse guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for your particular mask so that the heat or UV light does not compromise the integrity of the material. Dr. Brummer adds, “Hopefully people are staying indoors, but if you can do a combination of those things as well as go at least 3-7 days before reusing the mask, that would be a safer option as well.”
But ultimately, Dr. Brummer recommends staying at home and using hand sanitizer. “As simple as that message sounds,” says Dr. Brummer, “it saves lives.” “If we could get 75% of everyone in the United States just to do those 2 things, it would be amazing to see how many lives would be saved.” “It’s really that simple,” he says, “If you care about yourself, you would heed this warning and stay indoors.”
With the recent surge of temperature here in Pasadena, some may wonder if the coronavirus will continue to spread. Dr. Brummer says, “We do not know if there is any seasonality to this virus. Understanding that the warmer it gets, the virus doesn’t do as well. But it is not like the outside temperature is the same of boiling water.” Researchers are still trying to answer those questions. “We see that in Australia in the summer, people were still getting the virus. The thought is that it is not a seasonality that we are necessarily going to see.” “The evidence so far is not indicating that heat will help interrupt the transmission of the virus. So going out at the top of the morning versus the afternoon, we don’t see that that will really make a difference.”
Dr. Brummer says, “Things are coming on television and changing daily with conflicting information, so I know it can be really confusing, and it is our responsibility to come out and clarify some of the misconceptions. Hopefully we can decompress these emergency departments and keep the worried well from really becoming sick.”
Visit Dr. Brummer’s Instagram page at @thesavvydoc.
After graduating from Howard University and receiving his medical degree from New York University and completing his residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Savoy Brummer practiced emergency medicine across the nation while attaining academic posts at the Washington University School of Public Health and Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Notably, Dr. Brummer has also been the recipient of the prestigious Blue Jay Consulting/EMF/ACEP Director of the Year award.
Dr. Brummer currently serves as Vice President and is a past member of the Vituity Board of Directors. Vituity is a national multi-specialty partnership that treats 7 million patients a year and generates over $1B in revenue. He also currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the American College of Emergency Physician's Emergency Medicine Foundation. Dr. Brummer has over 15 years of experience managing and growing over 10 medical specialty practices across 15 states and driving market growth and turnarounds for specialty practices across the acute care continuum.
Ayesha K. Randall, Ed.D. Instructor, Education | Faculty Accreditation Co-chair, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Los Angeles, CA. You may contact Dr. Randall via phone at: (213) 763-3739, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org