In the earlier weeks of Covid-19, I didn’t want to contribute noise, so that experts in infectious disease could be heard. But now the situation has worsened. I spoke yesterday with Eric Topol, a cardiologist at Scripps Institute and author of Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. He convinced me that it’s urgent for all of us to speak up.
I’m deeply concerned about preventing Covid-19’s spread within healthcare systems. Apart from the widely reported shortages of personal protective equipment, healthcare systems in most countries, including the U.S., are not set up to adequately protect doctors and nurses from infection. We need to prioritize healthcare workers’ safety if we want them to keep taking care of us — and so that the death toll estimates, which are already staggering, don’t become even worse.
Here are some projects that my teams and I have been up to:
- Sourcing best practices from different countries that have more experience with Covid-19 and SARS. We organized this webinar to inform U.S. doctors of South Korea’s best practices.
- Together with several colleagues, compiling such best practices into concrete, practical suggestions like segmenting hospitals according to risk, with appropriate protocols for high-, medium-, and low-risk zones.
- Shipping masks to the U.S. from abroad and donating them to local hospitals. Our first shipment just arrived, and more are on the way.
It’s urgent for all of us to do what we can to flatten the curve. There are many things you can do to help. I hope that each of us will:
- Practice social distancing. Stay at home if you can, and encourage others to do the same.
- Support wearing masks by both healthcare workers and private citizens.
- Make local contributions, from offering to buy groceries for a neighbor to simply voicing your appreciation for the healthcare workers who are treating people nearby.
It’s up to us to respect the quarantine and save lives. Let’s come together as one global community and make it happen. Let me know what you or your friends are doing to help your community by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe and keep learning!