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Local Doctor gives closer look at impacts of COVID-19


RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Local 23 interviewed Dr. Federico Vallejo with the Valley Pulmonary group to provide information on questions many people may have in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Who are the most vulnerable? Reports show that initially, it was the elderly and individuals with underlying conditions, but some people that are testing positive now are asymptomatic. Can you explain that to us?” Asked KVEO Brenda Medina.

“Yes, actually the majority of the people that get the disease are going to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. But, we have the percentage of the population that gets infected, around 20% that are going to get sick enough and will require hospitalization…the majority of patients that get hospitalized or get in a lot of trouble are older, but there are cases of younger people that are ending up intubated in an intensive care unit,” said Dr. Federico Vallejo, a Pulmonary Critical Care Specialist with the South Texas Health System.

“What is the long-term impact, if any, for those that have been infected?” Asked KVEO Brenda Medina.

“For those who have been infected, for the vast majority it’s just going to go away and they’ll live a regular life. For the ones that are hospitalized, they’re going to recover to a normal life. There is a set of patients that are going to have long limitations,” responded Dr. Vallejo.

“And for pregnant woman specifically?” asked KVEO Brenda Medina.

“The answer is that we just don’t know. We don’t have the information. We don’t think it will be different than a regular young person, but we don’t have any studies that say it is worst or better in a pregnant woman…At this moment we don’t have that information. The very little that we know is that there is no transmission from the mother to the newborn,” responded Dr. Vallejo.

“Dr. I know it’s very important, health officials like yourself and our leaders have been warning about the importance of social isolation and distancing,” said KVEO Brenda Medina.

“Yes, I want to deliver this message to our society. I’m a part of a task force of healthcare workers from Brownsville to McAllen, all the Rio Grande Valley and we have a very clear message that is, stay home. By staying home, you are going to become heroes. Because you are going to be able to save lives. This level of responsibility that we are going to have in our society of taking care of ourselves by staying home and only leaving home for essential stuff, such as groceries, to the doctor. You are going to save lives if you stay home.” responded Dr. Vallejo.

Dr. Vallejo added that doctors across the Rio Grande Valley and hospitals are preparing should we see a spike in cases with the need of hospitalizations.

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