For many, COVID-19 may be viewed as political or media propaganda, or not real and concerning, but I can assure you COVID is very real.
Having spent the past 4 months and counting in support of COVID -19 relief operations, I will offer another side of the COVID story. However, this story is one about those who forget history are likely to repeat history.
Many argue there are more COVID cases because we are testing more so the numbers of cases are not a big deal anymore. I agree the total number of cases is not the whole story and the real burden of proof comes from the number of deaths and hospitalizations associated with COVID cases. Nonetheless, testing remains extremely important so we can understand the penetration of the disease into society.
Due to the economic and societal impacts, there is no question the phased reopening of states was needed. Since the reopening, though, many communities across the nation have been faced with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Unfortunately, despite the scientific data from public health experts like Dr. Fauci, Dr. Osterholm and others, there continues to be a dialogue by many who believe that “COVID isn’t a big deal as I’m young” or “why are we worried since over 90% of those who get COVID will recover?”
While most do recover from COVID, the fact remains that the population currently comprising most of the hospitalizations for COVID are young to middle age adults who are a significant portion of the current workforce. In addition, we cannot ignore the role of asymptomatic COVID transmission as people can spread the disease up to 48 hours prior to symptom onset. Day after day, a large majority of people continue to downplay the pandemic by not physical distancing or not wearing a face cover when in public areas such as grocery stores.
COVID-19 has illustrated several truths of which the most concerning is that we as a nation remain grossly underprepared for protecting our nation’s health in the setting of our current and future pandemics. Public health infrastructure and disaster preparedness/planning in the United States remains underfunded and underappreciated at all levels.
Our fight against COVID will require more than just health care workers, ventilators, and hospitals. Regardless of your location, the fight against COVID requires all Americans to do their part. While supporting local businesses and neighbors, please do so by responsibly by physical distancing, and wearing a face covering when in public. Just because one is young and healthy does not mean the reopening of America is a “free for all” and a reason to not follow recommendations set forth by public health experts.