Leaders of Wisconsin’s two medical schools have an urgent message to the public: Right now, every person in the state has the power to save lives by choosing to take a stand against COVID-19.
“We know what works to prevent spreading this horrible virus: a steadfast combination of staying home, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more from others when you must leave your household,” said Robert N. Golden, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health and vice chancellor for Medical Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
“The impact that COVID-19 has had on neighbors, friends, communities, health care professionals and frontline workers in our state has been devastating. But in Wisconsin, we care for one another. And right now, we have 1,845 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in our state. The best way to limit the deadly impact of COVID-19 in our communities is to take these simple actions.”
Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine, provost and executive vice president, views this as a pivotal moment in time.
“These steps are critical, and they provide a way to honor everything and everyone we hold dear,” he said. “It has never been more important to pitch in and be a part of the Wisconsin’s recovery from COVID-19. We all have a key role to play today in this story.”
As leaders of the institutions that train the next generation of health care and public health professionals, Golden and Kerschner have seen first-hand the impact of the virus on the state’s population, health care workforce and medical and public health students: sky-high levels of illness, hospitals running out of beds and staff and rapid shifts in how instruction can be provided to students. While research on SARS-CoV-2 and clinical trials for treatments and vaccines provide hope for the future, they urge that every person in Wisconsin must fight the spread of the disease right now.
“Imagine a day in which the level of COVID-19 in our communities is low, and people are no longer falling ill and suffering. That day can be sooner rather than later as long as we remain vigilant,” Kerschner said. “It takes persistence and a strong will, and we know that Wisconsinites have no shortage of both traits and are ready to make choices today that matter. These actions – wearing your mask, washing your hands, watching your distance – are how we will all move forward.”