Don’t get complacent this fall and catch COVID-19

Football season is exciting, even if we can’t go to the stadium. We all want to gather, whether tailgating, or in front of the TV. With new coronavirus cases declining nationally, and in Maryland, it’s tempting to take our eyes off the ball and relax. But let’s not get lulled into complacency.

With the weather cooling and sending people indoors, with school starting, and with flu season around the corner, this is likely just halftime for COVID. Halftime is when the pros reflect, adjust, and recommit. Let’s all do the same.

We all know COVID can be deadly for the elderly and those with cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, obesity, and compromised immune systems. We’ve also seen it ravage fit, healthy adults under 50 and cause terrible inflammatory disease in children. There is nothing good about getting COVID, even if one survives.

You can get in the game and stop this opponent. As all of Maryland works to get back to normal, prepare yourself and your family for the second half. Use your gear — wear masks, keep your distance, and wash your hands.

Make smart decisions about when and how to socialize safely.

Your Maryland hospitals and their dedicated caregivers — many of whom are your own family and friends — are doing the same. Hospitals have treated and sent home more than 15,300 COVID patients since mid-March. We have a smaller percentage of our population in hospitals with COVID today than two-thirds of all the other states. These are wins, but we are simply not finished.

The disease spreads easily and is destructive, so your hospitals continue to be on guard. We are protecting patients and workers with strict infection controls. We’re restocking personal protective equipment, medicines, ventilators, air filters — whatever is needed to take care of patients.

We’re keeping open hospital space that didn’t exist or that had been shuttered before the pandemic hit, just to be on the safe side. And we’ve deployed telehealth services widely to help you get care without leaving home, or your couch.

  • Mr. Atlas is president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association.