On Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington issued an update to the IHME projection model for the state of Wisconsin. In that update, researchers cited statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Milwaukee County Health Department that indicated the state might have hit its “peak” for the coronavirus on Easter Sunday.
Of course, analysts warned, the projection assumed Wisconsin residents would continue to maintain the social distancing policies and procedures that are currently in place through May. At the time of publication, the IHME model also predicted that projected death tolls associated with the coronavirus could fall (and continue to fall) through May 9, 2020. In fact, statewide, Wisconsin might experience as few as 357 deaths – far fewer than many metro areas nationwide. Just a few weeks ago, the projected death toll for the state was nearly 1,000.
The IHME update followed previous revisions to the analysis that moved the start of the peak into late April and another analysis that said the virus would not peak in the Badger state until May. Wisconsin closed schools for the year on March 18, 2020, and instituted a “Safer at Home” program to hopefully help flatten the curve of the viral spread. IHME analysts said if Wisconsin keeps residents at home for another six weeks, then the state’s peak could have already passed.
While this news mostly had people dreaming of heading out for a bite to eat at a restaurant or finally seeing a loved one in person again instead of over Skype or from a safe distance of six feet (or more) away, more than a few people immediately started thinking about their annual visit to the dentist.
Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said that there is a perception among many people that professions like dentistry will simply “snap back” into action once the shelter-in-place regulations are lifted. “For some things, demand will snap back immediately. Those jobs – dentists, health care, barber shops – there is a backlog of demand,” he said.
However, just because you feel good about visiting your dentist again does not necessarily mean you will be able to immediately get an appointment. Because so many people have opted to postpone elective procedures and annual cleanings, many practices are booked out through summer already. To avoid being put on an indefinite wait list, you should call your dental practice now and see if you can schedule an appointment pending the lifting of the Safer at Home orders. This is a great way know that your teeth will be cleaned sometime soon without having to head out and have the work done right now (although Dr. Crawford’s dental practice in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is currently still seeing patients).
Many medical professionals and business owners are recommending states reopen their economies a little at a time once they have “bent the curve,” meaning there is evidence new cases are going down rather than up. Even then, said former Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovacevich, “sick people should stay quarantined while people who have recovered from the virus and others under 55 should go back to work if they are comfortable with it.” Your dentist, like most other businesses, will likely continue to practice social distancing and health checks for returning staff and patients. Did you know that Dr. Pat Crawford’s dental practice in Kenosha, Wisoncons, is still seeing patients? Learn more about the office’s COVID-19 response and how to make an appointment at PatCrawfordDDS.com.