Greg D Cohen

A rural Iowa doctor's ongoing pandemic experience

Dr. Greg Cohen: “I still see patients who trust me with their diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, and lives, but believe I am lying to them about COVID.”

I am sad. I am frustrated. I am frustrated. I am hopeful. I am resolute, and I am just so tired.

I have written previously about my feelings and experiences as a rural Iowa family physician during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So where are we now? I still go to work every day and see whoever needs to be seen—sick or otherwise—with whatever PPE is available (that has gotten better).

Earlier this summer we were seeing one or two COVID patients every one or two weeks. Now we see multiple cases every day. We have coronavirus patients continuously in the hospital again.

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Rural doctor: I fear what is happening now in Iowa

Greg Cohen: We need to stop pretending the pandemic is over, because it’s not. -promoted by Laura Belin

Seven months ago, I wrote a letter to The Chariton Leader about my experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic — what was going right, what was going wrong, what frustrated me, and how America had responded. Here’s my follow up.

After more than one year, I hugged my children and grandchildren two weeks ago. I hugged my sister and brother in law last week.  Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, all of us have finally been vaccinated and we are now reasonably  safe to be together.  It has been the longest year of my life.

For the last year, health care workers and scientists have toiled tirelessly to protect us. Medications have greatly reduced the chances of our being hospitalized, and we have cut the death rate by 70 percent. After a terrible surge this winter, when I diagnosed two to ten people every day with COVID-related illness, I still diagnose people with COVID–19, but far fewer of them. This makes me hopeful we can end this pandemic sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, I fear what is happening now in Iowa and across America is undermining that work.

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The COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of a rural Iowa doctor

Dr. Greg Cohen has practiced medicine in Chariton since 1994. He was named a Distinguished Fellow by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians as well as Physician of the Year by the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association in 2019. -promoted by Laura Belin

To the citizens of Lucas County and Iowa:

I haven’t hugged my children or grandson since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have continued to go to work every day to provide medical care to the people of Lucas County and Southern Iowa. Sometimes I wear one mask. Sometimes two. Sometimes a gown. Sometimes two pairs of gloves. Sometimes safety glasses or a face shield.

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