From the Baseline to the Front Line: Dr. Rajiv Jauhar
The COVID-19 pandemic has produced much uncertainty across the country, but one thing it has unequivocally reaffirmed is our respect and adoration for the many officials and health care providers dedicating their lives to keeping others safe. In our new series From the Baseline to the Front Line, we’ll honor members of the USTA Eastern community who also happen to belong to that heroic group. Here we speak with Dr. Rajiv Jauhar, the Chief of Cardiology at Northwell Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. Dr. Jauhar has converted his department to help treat the influx of cases the facility has received.
What can you tell us about your experience on the front lines of this epidemic? What should people know?
Dr. Jauhar: The thing people should know is that New York is being hit the worst. Right now, as of this moment, we have 21,000 COVID-19 positive patients in the state (Ed Note: This interview was conducted on March 24). The second highest state has about 2,500. We essentially have about 9-10 times more cases than all the others. Our hospital right now has about 130 patients, 50 of whom are intubated. The notion that only the sick get it, that only the old get it is untrue. We had a 38-year-old gentleman die yesterday. We have a cardiology fellow who runs marathons get it. He was exceedingly sick, though he turned a corner a couple days ago. Our hospitals are now full of retired nurses, retired physicians, retired health care providers who are all coming back just to help. That’s exceedingly important.
How can people help?
Dr. Jauhar: The reality is that people can really help by staying home. It’s so important right now to minimize contact. [But] besides social distancing, besides following the rules, [what people can do] is really do the stuff our moms and dads taught us as kids. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face. It’s crazy, I’m watching myself want to touch my face, because I’ve been doing that for 53 years. But my mom always said, ‘Never touch your face, never touch your nose.’ And now I’ve finally stopped because of what’s happening.
Also, [people should] find ways to stay healthy. You have to exercise. You can exercise with social distancing! The stronger your lungs are, the better your chances of doing well in the long-term.
With that in mind…do you have any tips for how tennis players can stay active and healthy while at home?
Dr. Jauhar: Look, I love my tennis. I usually play 2-3 times a week. Now I run on a treadmill, I climb my stairs. I’ll do jumping jacks and push-ups. Basic stuff—stuff we learned in gym class. If you have a backyard, get some air. If you have a garage door…when I was growing up I hit balls against the garage door. My mom would yell at me all day! Whatever you like to do, just find ways to be active. Eating right is also very important. One thing I’ve noticed is how much bad food ends up in the house. Especially my own house! I’ve munched on the cookies and the carbs. It’s what we call stress eating. But you still have to eat right.
Switching gears, you mentioned you like to play a lot of tennis. How long have you been a part of the tennis community? When did you first pick up a racquet?
Dr. Jauhar: I’ve played tennis since 1977 when I was ten years old. I played in high school, and I was going to play in college…but I was going to med school and all hell just broke loose. [Laughs]. I love to play. It’s the best sport out there, no question. I am passionate about tennis.
What do you love about the game?
Dr. Jauhar: It’s one-on-one or two-on-two competition. I love the aerobic exercise. I love the hand-eye coordination. The other sports—soccer, basketball, football—require a lot of people. Tennis, you just go find one other idiot who’s crazy, and you can play. [Laughs]. It’s awesome. And I have a great social circle with tennis. Tennis people are so passionate. They just breed camaraderie and friendships.
USTA Eastern thanks and proudly supports health care professionals for their service. If you know somebody in the USTA Eastern community who should be recognized in "From the Baseline to the Front Line", please contact us.