A Doctor’s Plea

Our Medical Consultant Would Like A Word With You

So called “Plague Art,” cropping up in streets (and galleries) across the country and globe.

Your Sacrifice Will Save Your Life And Everyone Around You

by Dr. Reef Karim

As the only physician advisor on the volunteer staff of This American Quarantine (TAQ), I can tell you, with certainty, that frontline healthcare workers are overburdened and overwhelmed, and everyone needs to do their part to fight this virus. As other countries continue to take control of the dissemination of the virus, our country continues to struggle. As we move into months and months of crisis, stress and uncertainty, we are beyond dismayed at the alarming surges in Coronavirus cases in the United States and the seemingly persistent resistance among some Americans to taking sensible, proven – and often quite easy – precautions.

Normally, I remain behind the scenes in volunteering with TAQ; providing guidance to the other volunteers who are desperately scrambling every day to support those who are sheltering and to encourage others to sacrifice for the good of everyone in our country.

But the situation is so dire, so critical, that I am addressing all Readers directly with some suggestions and a request. In addition to you and your loved ones wearing masks, physical distancing and sanitizing; I am directing you to do more. Yes, more – to take real-world action to
combat misinformation and to motivate those in your community to stop risky behaviors that are endangering the lives of others.

Sacrificing our immediate pleasure, living in discomfort and sharing scientific information (not politicized opinions or uninformed loudest voices) will help us to overcome this virus.

You don’t need not be an activist per se, nor march in any streets. The reality is the “cure” isn’t coming anytime soon, and neither is a vaccine. (The earliest estimates of an effective vaccine’s approval is January of 2021, with many additional months for manufacture, distribution and administration procedures. World-wide, public health and pharmaceutical experts are now saying we will not see substantial results from a widespread vaccination program until 2022).

That is the bad news. The good news, thankfully, is that the simple safety measures TAQ, and others such as the CDC and the WHO, have recommended, do work. Countries that were ravaged early on in this pandemic have significantly diminished the virus (and most did not damage their national economies in the process); South Korea is an excellent example, but so are many other countries in Europe.

I sincerely implore you to begin having what may be difficult conversations with your closest friends and loved ones. If you are active on social media, I ask you to use these powerful platforms to educate, motivate and inspire others who may be unaware of the facts and/or resistant to these safety measures because of personal beliefs, politics and misinformation.

We will get through this – together.

So, what can you do?

First off, share this letter with any individuals who question the need to take immediate action.

Write letters or send e-mails to your local leaders at the city, county and state level demanding legislation and executive action now.  Praise those that have taken smart (and legal) steps. 

Design a new normal for you and your loved ones during this time of transition (newnormalmanual.com) and develop the tools and techniques to navigate this crisis with more awareness and strength to better your future (thecrisismanual.com)

You can even create a poster reminding people to wear masks and be safe (an effective coping strategy in itself) and display it in the window of your home or vehicle to share collective messaging. 

Behavior change occurs only when people are both ready and motivated – so help us and all medical professionals who are currently risking their lives in hospitals across the country, by doing something today to inspire and encourage others.

The potential benefits are nearly incalculable – the virus and its complications harm us because of its easy transmission. Each and every person you inspire to take smart safety precautions prevents the spread (and suffering) of many, many others.  You will benefit as well; the science is very clear on this: taking action combats feelings of helplessness and despair.  

When we have purpose, we feel better. Reminders of the positive potential of our actions can help diminish our anxiety and despair. And, you can build resilience and happiness by simply taking note of these uplifting moments.  

Please do not overlook this virus. I know many of us are restless, frustrated, bored and tired. But this time is crucial; we must be willing to tolerate continued discomfort for the good of our fellow citizens and country. Do not give in to overwhelm. This will get better.

~ By, Dr. Reef Karim, Medical Advisor to This American Quarantine

Dr. Karim is a mental health physician specializing is crisis management, neuroscience, personal development and innovation. You can learn more about him and his work at his website.

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