NAU's COVID-19 Policy
May 16, 2020

Moving Forward: Donna Lee is Joined by Dr. Georgeanne Freeman to discuss COVID-19 quarantine, testing, and the immune system

Speaker 1: 

Welcome back to the Armor Men’s Health Hour with Dr. Mistry and Donna Lee.

Donna Lee: 

Welcome back to the Armor Men’s Health Hour. This is Donna Lee. Dr. Mistry stepped away, so I just wanted to bring in our special guest, Dr. Freeman. She’s the “Downtown Doctor.” Welcome, Dr. Freeman! Thanks for being here. We’re so happy to have you today.

Dr. Freeman: 

You’re welcome. Happy to be here.

Donna Lee: 

I wanted to introduce you. I know that you’ve been a friend of ours for a long time and I appreciate you so much. And when I go downtown and I see all the changes, I think of you immediately because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, there’s a new building, and there’s new people, and there’s more patients for Dr. Freeman.” So how’s that affected your practice? First tell us how long you’ve been there and where you’re at and how long you, you know, how many patients you see a day and is it a walk in, that sort of thing?

Dr. Freeman: 

It’s a walk in and planned clinic. We are family medicine and urgent care. I’m board certified in family medicine and I have a background in emergency medicine. So people are welcome to walk in. They can also schedule. We can become your primary care, or as I like to say, if it’s convenient for you because you’re downtown and you need a strep test or to get checked out for something urgently, you’re not cheating on your doctor if you come and see me.”

Donna Lee: 

You’re not? Dr. Mistry always says that we’re, that people are cheating on their doctors. I’m kidding. He loves second opinions! A second opinion’s okay. It’s a good thing, it means the patients really thought that through. And we were talking beforehand–you have an extensive background in public health, and I know we’ve got all this crazy coronavirus stuff and I, my question to you is, are you tired of talking about it? But you’re not. You have an opinion and I want you to kind of go over that with us.

Dr. Freeman: 

I have a Master’s degree in Public Health. I have served on the Travis County Medical Society Public Health Team several different times during Ebola, which was several years ago, we had some Ebola and Texas, as well as the Zika outbreak, and now with Covid. So as someone with a public health background, this is a fascinating time. It’s super interesting to have a new virus among us. Certainly did not wish for it, but we will never have a Covid-free culture. We can and I think should learn to coexist with Covid. In my opinion, based on the science that we know now, healthy people need to be out and about and interacting with other people. In my opinion, healthy people should not be quarantining. I know how immunology works because I’ve had a lot of education in immunology and when you’re healthy, your immune system stays healthy and continues to build because we are interacting almost constantly with different bacteria and different viruses. I don’t think that we need to be Cloroxing every surface.

Donna Lee: 

Oh thank God. I’m tired of doing that.

Dr. Freeman: 

I don’t think that we need to be washing our hands so much that we, that our cuticles become dry and we wear down our dermis because the skin–nod to our dermatologists out there–the skin is the largest organ on the body and the skin is our first line of defense. So we don’t want to be wearing our skin down.

Donna Lee: 

Right. I always think that, because I’m really weird about chemicals entering my skin, so I’m always wearing a glove. But the exposure to the Clorox wipes, I mean it’s such a heavy degree. Everybody should be wearing gloves if they’re going to Clorox or wipe down something.

Dr. Freeman: 

I agree.

Donna Lee: 

Gotcha. So you’re saying, and I heard this before, my husband sends me video after video, a doctors talking about the same thing that we’ve been sitting at home, these healthy people are sitting at home and then they go back out into the world. Yeah, they’re more exposed at that point, just because their immunity is down. And tell us more about your thoughts on that.

Dr. Freeman: 

Sick people should be quarantined and that’s how it’s always been throughout history. This is the first time in history in mass where healthy people have been quarantined. I know that some of y’all are out there thinking “Yeah, but…Yeah, but healthy people, you can be asymptomatic and half Covid.” That’s correct. You can be asymptomatic and have herpes too. Okay. And we talk about how to protect yourself against that. So if you’re healthy, I don’t think you should be at home. If you’re healthy, you need to be out living your life, interacting with other people, interacting with germs, quote unquote, because that’s going to keep your healthy immune system healthy and it’s going to be interesting to see all this time of quarantining healthy people. Are we going to see more immunocompromised situations in healthy people as a result? Hopefully two months wasn’t enough to have that happen. But that’s how, that’s how immunology works. So sick people need to stay at home and we are being able to get more and more testing for the Covid, which is great. The tests aren’t as wonderful as we would like them to be, so know that if you test negative, probably you’re negative but not necessarily so. If you test positive, probably positive, but not necessarily so. And definitely the rapid tests that people are being sold, I’m sure your doctors are the same as me–every day I’m getting all kinds of spam in the email. “Here’s a rapid test, buy it from us.” That testing is nowhere near being anywhere accurate and I do not think anyone should get that testing, should believe that testing, cause it’s just inaccurate. Now, I…

Donna Lee: 

And you say the rapid testing is that the one that’s like 2 hours later you have a result instead of how long is the typical…?

Dr. Freeman: 

…or even 15 minutes. So you know how we have rapid testing for strep and for influenza when you go to your primary care or your urgent care clinic, you get about 15 minute turnaround? That technology is not there yet for this new Covid virus.

Donna Lee: 

Right? Yeah. It can’t be.

Dr. Freeman: 

I do think that the, the tests at CPL, the tests at Quest are pretty darn good. That said, it’s important to talk with your doctor about why you want to get tested, and what you’re going to do with those results. Like any other test, I was like to tell my patients I’m not ordering an MRI or a cat scan or labs without talking about why we’re ordering those tests. What are we going to do if the test is positive, what are we going to do if the test is negative! If you’ve strained your knee and you want an MRI, I’m going to ask why. If you’ve got a blown ACL, are you going to get surgery? If you’re possibly gonna get surgery, we might get an MRI, but if you say, “I’m not going to get surgery, I’m only going to come to you. You’re an osteopath. I want you to have my leg in alignment and tell me home exercises to do, let’s work with that,” clinically, I probably know what’s going on. We don’t need testing. It’s important to think about what are you going to do with that? If you go get tested for Covid and you’re positive, what does that tell you? What are you gonna do about that? Do you really need to know?

Donna Lee: 

Gotcha. And what about when I hear on the news they’re testing positive for the antibodies, but they’re negative for Covid–how does that work? What does that mean?

Dr. Freeman: 

So you can be exposed to something and have the antibodies against it and not necessarily have the the infection. Maybe you had the infection in the past, maybe you don’t have it acutely. So when you get into immunology, basically IGM and IGG, without getting too crazy about immunology, we can test for most things IGM or IGG–meaning if you have IGM of a Corona virus, you actively right now have that infection. If you test positive for IGG, negative for IGM, you have had that Corona virus in the past and you carry those IGG chronic longterm antibodies against that particular Corona virus. But because this Corona virus only existed since about January as far as we know, and scientists just haven’t had enough time to really isolate this particular Corona virus and know how to determine a blood test or a saliva test for the IGM, the acute phase reactant of this particular Corona virus and then the IGG that would be the longterm carrying antibody against this particular Corona virus.

Donna Lee: 

Gotcha.

Dr. Freeman: 

And remember, there are hundreds of Corona viruses that have been among us for decades or even longer. The common cold is a type of Corona virus.

Donna Lee: 

Tell us more about that. What does that mean? There’s like, there’s different types of flu. There’s this many different types of Corona viruses.

Dr. Freeman: 

That’s right. So the influenza is a really good example. There are many different strains of influenza that have been among us for decades, probably hundreds of years, honestly. And then the influenza is one type of virus, and then under that you have all those different influence of viruses. Then there’s a Corona virus, so-called, because Corona in Latin means “crown,” and when you look at this virus under a certain type of microscope, it looks like a little crown.

Donna Lee: 

…a little crown to pop out in the pictures that we see.

Dr. Freeman: 

Yeah, exactly. Lots of viruses have crowns and they’re just in the Corona virus family there. I have some really good news, too. Again, preliminary studies, because this virus is new among us, scientists are able to forward replicate this particular Corona virus, and so based on those predictive models, it looks like as this virus mutates, which they all mutate, that’s what viruses do, it looks like it’s a stupid virus for our purposes and that as it’s mutating, it’s less virulent, which means that as we, again, as we reemerge and we learn to coexist in the world of Covid, we think based on what we know now that it’s going to reproduce and kill less people.

Donna Lee: 

Oh, gotcha.

Dr. Freeman: 

Yeah.

Donna Lee: 

Well that’s, I love your take on it, though. It’s realistic and I think we’re all just ready to get back. Yeah.

Donna Lee: 

I want to go sit at restaurants again and go shopping. There was a line out the door at the Marshall’s over the weekend.

Dr. Freeman: 

Marshall’s is open?

Donna Lee: 

Marshall’s is open.

Dr. Freeman: 

Oh my God. You just made my day! I was, I’ve been asking about that. Okay, great. That’s really good time.

Donna Lee: 

I really appreciate the engagement and the information you gave us today. I think a lot of listeners are going to really benefit that and be relieved and maybe breathe, you know, a breath of fresh air and go, “I’m going to go outside right now.”

Dr. Freeman: 

And this was based on science. I’m an evidence based doctor. This isn’t like a feeling that I have of this. These are my thoughts based on science that we have right now.

Donna Lee: 

Wonderful. If people want to get ahold of you, what’s your website and your phone number?

Dr. Freeman: 

Yeah, thanks. www.freemanmedicalclinic.com. (512) 391-9400. We’re open Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and we welcome you in downtown, whether you’re downtown, working, playing, or just passing through.

Donna Lee: 

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for that information. I appreciate Dr. Freeman and we’ll be right back after these messages.

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The Armor Men’s Health Hour will be right back. If you have questions for Dr. Mistry, email him at armormenshealth@gmail.com.

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