It will be eight months ago on Monday that I issued a statement due to COVID-19 that read: “The decision has been made to temporarily suspend ALL currently scheduled TLC (Together we Live with Cancer!) and ST&BF (Survive, Thrive & Be Fit) group activities until further notice!”
At the time, I was hopeful that the upcoming spring and summer would allow us outdoor opportunities to connect with one another while giving this virus a chance to “run its course.”
But here we are! And there seem to be two very different coronavirus stories unfolding!
As the virus continues to spread more rapidly across our county, our state, our country and our world than ever before... it appears evident to me that, as a whole, we have not adjusted our behaviors in a manner that has effectively mitigated the spread of this disease!
It seems appropriate that I repeat the words of Bill Gates from our last update: “The fall is going to be worse than the summer. Until the new tools come (monoclonal antibodies and the vaccine) which they won’t come at scale until the first half of next year... all we have is our behavior.”
Behaviors such as those that the CDC recently encouraged in a scientific briefing: “Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation.”
The second story is much more encouraging! It involves the simultaneous progress in the development of a potential vaccine by several pharmaceuticals offering hope. Additionally, steadily improving quality of therapeutic treatments for the many varying symptoms of the virus can be seen in the decreasing death rate related to COVID-19 infections!
As The New York Times recently reported, even though the numbers of infections have risen substantially, deaths due to COVID-19 have not increased at nearly the same rate.
The New York Times also reported that “Wisconsin’s outbreak has escalated more rapidly than those in other states” and is characterized as “the state that has unraveled the fastest.”
“At the beginning of September,” the New York Times reports, “Wisconsin was averaging about 700 cases a day. By this week, it was averaging more than 6,000. Hospitals are packed and more than 300 deaths were reported in the state over the last week, a record.”
Governor Tony Evers stated in a news conference on Tuesday evening, after issuing an executive order advising residents to stay at home, “It took us seven and a half months to get to 100,000 cases. But it only took 36 days to add another 100,000. The way things are going, it will take us only 20 days to reach another 100,000.”
This is serious stuff!
Despite the good news of a potentially-effective vaccine and more effective therapeutics, now is clearly not the time to let our guard down. Instead, especially in Wisconsin, now is the time to double-down on our efforts to stop the spread of this virus!
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reminds us that “You Stop the Spread” by following these simple steps to protect the people in your life:
Wear a cloth face covering in public settings, especially when it is difficult to practice physical distancing.
Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when possible when you leave your home.
Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Stay at home as much as possible and especially if you are sick. Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates, and nonessential appointments.View PDF