Mississippi doctors’ group urges residents to do three things to help them slow coronavirus surge

Published 6:06 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

A Mississippi physicians’ organization issued a plea to Mississippi residents on Friday urging them to take measures to protect themselves and one another from the rapidly spreading COVID-19 coronavirus.

“With record-breaking daily case numbers of the deadly COVID-19 virus surging to dizzying new heights, the physicians of Mississippi, who have been serving on the front lines of the state’s pandemic response since the beginning of 2020, write to you urgently to request your direct assistance in combatting the spread of COVID-19,” wrote the leaders of the Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA).

“Hospitals are full and soon to enter a next phase of a crisis system of care. Physicians, nurses and other first responders are mentally and physically overwhelmed and exhausted. The toll of the pandemic has become personal not only to our citizens but also to our physicians, as we are losing Mississippians each day, at an insurmountable rate – many of these losses are physicians and healthcare workers.”

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The letter was signed by three leaders of the MSMA including president Dr. W. Mark Horne, board of trustees chair Dr. Jennifer Bryan and exeuctive director Dr. Claude Brunson.

The doctors said the current surge is putting an “unbearable and unsustainable strain on physicians, healthcare workers, hospitals and medical facilities statewide.”

The doctors urged Mississippians to do three things to help slow the spread and ease the stress on the healthcare system including:

Wearing a mask

“The statewide mask mandate is over, but the pandemic isn’t. Be sure that your mask covers your nose and mouth and wear them in all public spaces. If we must make this about personal liberty, then we should recognize that we have the liberty to make good and responsible decisions and that protecting ourselves and others from a contagion should not be a controversial request. Wearing masks has repeatedly proven to have dramatic results in efforts to decrease transmission of disease.”

Avoiding group settings

“As we continue through the holiday season, protect the people you love by celebrating responsibly. This means sacrificing in-person social events, meetings and functions, to reduce the risk of infecting friends and family, and ensure that they are around for future celebrations. Yes, unfortunately, this recommendation is not a “fun” one. Currently, as the virus rages out of control, we recommend making new traditions with your nuclear family and avoiding gatherings. Just as the virus does not care about political party, it also is not aware that it is a holiday season, and it loves indoor crowds. The virus is 20 times more likely to spread indoors versus outdoors.”

Wash your hands

“Spread joy, not germs, this holiday season. Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.”

“Physicians believe in public health measures to stamp out the disease so that businesses and schools can thrive and remain open, and patrons will be able to visit them without anxiety,” the doctors wrote. “You’ve trusted us for so much over the years when it comes to sound advice regarding the health of your family and our communities. This is not forever but these things are highly impactful and as we watch our colleagues sicken and some die, we feel compelled to remind the public that we are now your LAST line of defense. You personally hold the keys to your own health and to others as well as the risks posed to our healthcare heroes working daily to save lives. We call on you all to do your part to protect yourselves and each other.”