The message below is from Dr. Gerald Bourne, director of the Encore Physicians Program, which matches retired physicians with community health centers that care for underserved people. Here’s how the COVID-19 pandemic recently impacted his family.
After so many years of preaching public health to unwilling cardiac patients, I learned my lesson on how to most effectively fight the largest pandemic of our lifetime from an unlikely source — my 21-year-old daughter, Brianna, who was willing to forgo probably the most important event of her college career to play her simple part in social distancing.
Brianna is on the cross country/track team at Williams College in Massachusetts. When her team qualified to participate in the championships, my wife and I were excited to go and support her. We took a red-eye out last Wednesday night, and the meet was supposed to be that weekend. On Thursday afternoon, an announcement was made that due to COVID-19 there would be no spectators. About five hours later, it was cancelled.
We were so disappointed for her. Brianna had worked so hard for this. We were in the hotel lobby, standing with her whole team, when Brianna looked at me and said, “Dad, if I compete with women from across the country and become a virus carrier, I might transmit the disease to many more people, including those who I love, when I return home. This policy is so much more important than a track competition.”
I must admit my eyes became a bit damp at that point.
Now Brianna is driving home to live with us in the San Francisco Bay Area. I look forward to joining her on a few slow long-distance runs.
Physicians play just one role in this outbreak. Please encourage those around you to play their part to limit the spread of this disease and to help others using healthy and safe practices.