As pandemic continues, all must act responsibly
You’re tired of hearing about masks, social distancing and the pandemic. I get it. As physicians treating patients with COVID-19 daily, my colleagues and I also are tired. We’re tired of watching patients die — frequently without family by their side. We’re tired of discharging patients with severe lung damage and other complications. Contracting COVID-19 might not be a death sentence, but you might be dealing with its aftermath for the rest of your life.
Winter is coming and we’re already fatigued. Our battle often feels like “one step forward and two steps back.” We have not properly mourned or memorialized almost 230,000 Americans, including fellow front-line workers. Furthermore, the indirect toll of this disease is insidious and underestimated — something we’re just beginning to grasp and might not fully comprehend for years.
With our resiliency already strained, we again are logistically and psychologically preparing for more challenges and, unfortunately, more loss. Please wear a mask. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that masks, if universally used, could save 100,000 people in the next three to four months. Most masks significantly mitigate viral transmission, and we never have had an intervention this inexpensive that’s capable of saving so many lives. That life could be mine. It could be yours. Amid the adversity are small, simple and straightforward solutions that will save lives and livelihoods. When you are not home, wear a mask anytime you are indoors. Keep your gatherings small and maintain a safe distance from others. Get your flu shot. Collectively, these acts of kindness will protect our families and our community.