Louisiana physicians see patients who have fallen ill with the coronavirus who do not believe the virus is real, according to a Baton Rouge critical care doctor

“I think our patients and our community are scared,” said Dr. Chris Thomas, a critical care physician with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. “When you’re scared, your coping mechanisms are different. Our reality becomes different.”

Thomas spoke at a press conference Thursday afternoon as Gov. John Bel Edwards warned Louisiana residents of a new surge of infections placing hospitals and their personnel at risk.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Thomas has seen patients not survive. He even contracted COVID-19 himself and, although he had relatively mild symptoms, admitted he was afraid of the outcome when he received his diagnosis.

“I think that is real, I think it is logical, it is science, and we should recognize that possibility when we think about our loved ones,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said that some people he sees on a daily basis do not accept this.

“Do I still have patients and patients’ families who tell me it is not real? The answer, unfortunately, is ‘yes,’” he said.

He sees this as a coping mechanism and said that he has taken care of the sickest patients of his entire career. He will continue to care for them, he said.

“I wish everyone at this point would be past the idea this is not real, but I accept and give grace to those who use that as a coping mechanism in order to really be able to live...every day because it’s something that’s out of their control. “