WATCH: The Best Explanation of Why We Should Avoid Going Out
This is by far the best presentation by a public official or medical professional about the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that I have seen. This is University of Chicago Medicine infectious diseases expert Dr. Emily Landon. She spoke during the Illinois governor's COVID-19 press conference on March 20, 2020. She does the best explanation about why social distancing, or staying home, is the best defense we have right now to slow the spread of COVID-19.
I suggest watching Dr. Landon's entire speech in the video above. But, here are some of the most important points she makes.
Why Staying At Home is the Best Thing To Do:
"And we all acknowledge that this is the only way forward. This virus is unforgiving. It spreads before you even know you've caught it. And it tricks you into believing that it's nothing more than a little influenza. For many of us, it may not be much more than the flu. And so it could be very confusing as to why schools are closed, restaurants are shuttered."
"But the real problem is not the 80% who will get over this in a week. It's the 20% of patients, the older, those that are immunocompromised, those that have other medical problems who are going to need a bit more support-- some oxygen or maybe a ventilator, life support."
"But we can't take care of everyone at once. And we can't keep that low mortality promise if we can't provide the support that our patients need."
"All we have to slow the spread is social distance. And if we let every single patient with this infection infect three more people and then each of them infect two or three more people, there won't be a hospital bed when my mother can't breathe very well or when yours is coughing too much."
An Important Lesson From American History:
"Looking back to the last time, we were-- limited tools and having a dangerous infection spread quickly was the beginning of the 1918 pandemic.
Two cities in America made different choices about how to proceed and when only a few patients were affected. St. Louis shut itself down and sheltered in place. But Philadelphia went ahead with a huge parade to celebrate those going off to war.
A week later, Philadelphia hospitals were overrun. And thousands were dead, many more than in St. Louis. This is a cautionary tale for our time. Things are already tough in Illinois hospitals, including mine. There is no vaccine or readily available antiviral to help stem the tide."
How can soccer or a book club be so dangerous?
"In short, without taking drastic measures, the healthy and optimistic among us will doom the vulnerable. We have to fight this fire before it grows too high. These extreme restrictions may seem, in the end, a little anticlimactic. Because it's really hard to feel like you're saving the world when you're watching Netflix from your couch.
But if we do this right, nothing happens. Yeah. A successful shelter in place means that you're going to feel like it was all for nothing. And you'd be right. Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family. And that's what we're going for here."
Even a little time makes a huge difference
"But with a real commitment to sheltering in place and a whole lot of patients, we can help protect our critical workers who need to use public transportation in order to safely get from where they need to go.
We can give our factories time to ramp up production of all that PPE, so that we have enough masks to last. And we can make more medications and learn more about how we could use them to help save more lives."
"It will take more than a week to start seeing the rate of increase slow down. And that's a complicated thing to say. It'll take even longer to see the rate come down, and see it slowing, and infections going down. So, please, don't give up"