Op Ed

We Health Care Workers Need Help

Pandemic surging, hospitals straining to handle it. You can take action to help us all.

By - Nov 12th, 2020 10:33 am
"Heroes Work Here." File photo by Dave Reid.

“Heroes Work Here.” File photo by Dave Reid.

COVID-19 is continuing its devastating march across the world and throughout our country. The numbers of infected patients and deaths continue to rise, and many of us have become numb to these statistics. So many of us just want this all to be over, but now is not the time to give in to that exhaustion, particularly as we head into winter.

As an emergency medicine doctor, I would love nothing more than to see this virus contained and have our world return to a semblance of normalcy. The reality is that we must continue working together to slow the spread of this virus until a safe and effective vaccine is available.

The virus doesn’t care what we want. It will continue infecting people, devastating families, and causing unpredictable long-term effects in previously healthy people unless we actively work to stop its spread. That means continuing to practice established health protocols that include:

  • Wearing masks in public,
  • Watching your distance from people you don’t live with,
  • Practicing good hand hygiene, and
  • Staying home if you start to develop symptoms.

While these actions have become politicized, they are scientifically proven, public health recommendations, repeatedly shown to be the best way to slow spread of the virus. Caring for your neighbors isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an ingrained humanitarian value that should be alive in all of us.

Here in Wisconsin, case numbers are surging, putting incredible strain on hospital capacities and the abilities of caregivers at all levels. Things will likely get worse over the next couple of weeks. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and the health and well-being of our communities.

I know you’re tired of being cooped up inside. I know you’re tired of wearing masks and social distancing. I know parents are tired of virtual learning at home, and I know your kids are tired of not being able to play with their friends. Believe me when I say that no one is more tired of this pandemic than my colleagues and me. We’re tired of wearing masks continuously for nine-hour shifts. We’re tired of worrying that we’ll get sick every time we go to work. We’re tired of running to the shower when we get home to decontaminate, and we’re tired of being afraid that we’re going to bring this disease home to infect our loved ones.

It’s been a long haul, but our fight continues. We have to listen to doctors and scientists who have devoted their lives to helping people. We can do this, but it’s going to take all of us.

Dr. Brady McIntosh is an Emergency Medicine Specialist for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Categories: Health, Op-Ed

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