By Dr. Dave Hnida

(CBS4) – As many of you may know, within the past year I had a massive heart attack, followed by a heart transplant. I had four cardiac arrests and was on life support for a few weeks before I was able to get the transplant.

Fortunately, I’ve done well. Still rehabbing and recovering, but getting out and about.

Dr. Dave Hnida

CBS4’s Jim Benemann interviews Dr. Dave Hnida in Jefferson County in November. (credit: CBS)

Until now.

I haven’t had COVID-19, or coronavirus, but am in that risk group of nasty complications. I’ve already hit age 60, I’ve got heart issues, and I take powerful anti-rejection drugs that erase my immunity.  So, the big trifecta. Great if you’re betting on horses, but not if you are like me and millions of others with health issues.

To protect myself, I stay in. My immediate family severely restricts any public contact. Those who can’t avoid others because of work, we Skype and video call to keep in touch. That includes my grandkid.

And they’re ok with that, since they worry more about me than I worry about me. But then again, I didn’t have to watch myself struggle on a ventilator.

So why should any of this matter to you?

Actually, a lot. But not because of me.

It’s you, and those you care about.

First let’s look at you. Even if you’re younger and healthier, you can still catch COVID-19. And yes, about 80% of people will have milder disease. But, at this time, there are previously healthy 35 year olds on ventilators because of COVID-19. So, go ahead, roll the dice.

Then how about the people you come in contact with? Do you have parents or grandparents?  Do you have friends or co-workers who have older relatives or are around people with health issues?

Here’s the math if you get even mild COVID-19:

You will infect, on average, two people. Those two infect two more. Those four can infect two more each. Those eight now go on to 16, 32, and onward. Do you really think any of those people don’t have contact with people at risk? They do. And all traces back to you. The dice just shifted the odds.

That’s why there is the drumbeat of stay home and social distancing. We can’t have this explode like Italy and other hotspots.

Look a month or two ahead as cases multiply because people didn’t follow simple recommendations today.  Our health care system will be even more overloaded. ER lines out the door. Next available doctor’s appointment in 120 days. Clinics closed.

Health care workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at the state's first drive-up testing center on March 12, 2020 in Denver.

Health care workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at the state’s first drive-up testing center on March 12 in Denver. (credit: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

How about hospitals? Don’t even go down that road. No beds. No ICU space. No ventilators. Sick healthcare workers.

Your loved one has a heart attack? Wow, that’s going to be a problem if hospitals are using tents to house patients. Need your appendix out? That’s an emergency, but how do we squeeze you in?

Let’s once again go back to you, the young and healthy. You’ve dodged the bullet. You’re feeling good. Then you get in a major car accident. You need immediate surgery and critical care services. Guess what? No resources available.

I know, this scenario is unreal sounding. But could you envision today two weeks ago? Things were fine in the good old days.

So here’s the deal. Please follow the recommendations of the Colorado state health department, and Gov. Jared Polis.

Get on board now, because before you blink the train will have left and there is no station at the end of the line.

Please take care of your fellow Coloradans.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

Dr. Dave Hnida

Comments (2)
  1. patty says:

    best wishes dr. dave. i wish press would talk about the many high risk children in our country, not just olders like me.

  2. Judy says:

    Dr Dave. I have listened to you for years. Sorry to hear about your health problems. You have a caring attitude as always. Thank you for being you

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