Pub. 8 2020 Issue 4 2 T he B ottom L ine Howard Headlee President and CEO Utah Bankers Association COVID RISK MANAGEMENT W e are eight months into this pan- demic, and our medical com- munity has learned a lot about the COVID-19 virus. Still, I am concerned that many people who test positive believe that all they need to do is go home, isolate, and if things get worse or they have trouble breathing, go to the hospital. It is important to understand that these instruc- tions are public health instructions geared toward managing the spread of the virus. This is not an individualized medical treatment plan. If you want a personalized treatment plan, you need to reach out to your doctor. I am not a doctor and I’m not giving profes- sional advice, but if you are over 50 and you test positive for COVID, there are things you should be talking with your doctor about to proactively manage the progression of this virus. Bankers are professional risk managers and there are significant risks associated with COVID-19. Would a bank regulator ever let a bank approach a potentially catastrophic risk to a bank with the equivalent of a “go home, isolate and go to a hospital if things get bad” policy? I highly doubt it, so it’s simply unrealistic to expect a banker to embrace this approach to a life and death risk. Good doctors have been testing, learning, and developing approaches to early, at-home treat- ments that align with what we are learning about this disease. Last month the vice chair- man of Internal Medicine at Baylor University Medical Center published a peer-reviewed algorithm for early, at-home treatment. It addresses the three phases of the progression of COVID-19: 1. Viral replication, 2. Cytokine storm and 3. Microthrombosis. Viral replication is the phase where the virus is introduced to your body and begins to grow. Limiting the virus’s ability to replicate is critical during the first seven days of the disease. There has not been enough time to develop new, specific drugs to treat COVID-19, but there are drugs that have been proven safe and effective for limiting the replication of other viruses that ap- pear to also restrict the replication of COVID-19. Dr. McCollough calls these “off-target” anti-virals. Cytokine storm is the phase when the body’s immune system kicks into overdrive in response to the virus. This can drive things like coughing, inf lammation and difficulty breathing. Depending on how severe this gets, this is where the hospi- talization phase can begin. Again, we have access to many treatments that safely and effectively treat inf lammation (corticosteroids), even though none have been specifically developed for COVID-19. The microthrombosis phase is what makes this particular virus so much more deadly than others. It causes your blood to clot and these little clots can create a lot of damage that, if not prevented, is very difficult to repair. Fortunately, we