Dear community members:
This weekend brought to light much of the stress that we are feeling as a nation as a result of the global COVID pandemic. The demonstrations that occurred in numerous states are a grave reminder that issues of health are so closely tied to our social and economic well-being.
At Community Health Centers, we call these the “social determinants of health”. Access to healthy food, water, shelter, transportation, and positive family support, we have always known, are as meaningful to our health as the correct diagnosis and treatment options for disease.
One thing I have learned as a Family Physician, although you certainly don’t need to be a doctor to know, is everything in moderation. Extremism, based on belief that is unsupported by science, leads to the destruction of societies and things that we hold dear. We know this when we stop to think about 9/11, to which Mr. Cuomo compared to the present pandemic.
What scientists and mathematicians, who are often the most rational among us, have observed, is that in countries that have maintained social distancing and hand and face hygiene, the virus has had the least impact. We have heard over and over what this means: stay 6 feet from those around you; wear a mask in public so that droplets do not spread, sanitize your hands whenever you touch an object or another person, sanitize surfaces and items that you bring into your home.
As often is the case with health prevention—these solutions are fairly simple, everyone can do them.
Please stop and think about this. Are you doing these things? These are the most important. Politicians and public interest groups may speak about words like “essential” and “nonessential”. We should ask ourselves ... essential for what? In the end, we are all “essential” for the virus to live. It is also essential for us to use our brains to think critically about what is going on, and to be a part of solving the problems that this pandemic has presented.
Some of our solutions will involve the use of new technologies and ways of working, and we will need to learn them in order to adapt. But, there are very basic things that we have in our power to do right NOW, to stop the virus from spreading or resurging.
Stay safe and healthy!
Dr. Nancy Ciavarri
Dr. Ciavarri is chief medical officer at Oak Orchard Health.