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These are featured stories of how the Upper Delta and Mid-South is combating the Coronavirus as well as resources to help those impacted by the pandemic.

NYIT Commentary: An Important Coronavirus Tune

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University in Wilson Hall in Jonesboro
Brandon Tabor

As I approach my 40s, my annual wellness visits to my primary care physician usually consist of my doctor singing a familiar tune: improve your diet, get more exercise and make some changes to lose a little weight.

As important as those messages are, I’ll admit it’s easy for them to lose their gravitas when I hear the same things over and over again. Especially for me, a middle-aged man with an affinity for pizza and my television.

But there’s a reason my doctor keeps telling me the same things: if I want to maximize my quality and length of life, there isn’t much more they can say to help me do so.

In recent days and weeks, our physicians may have started to sound like broken records when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19/coronavirus epidemic that has encompassed our lives. Every story we read contains the same directives.  As the publicist for a medical school, I can pretty much copy and paste the lines into every piece of communication I send.

Stay home. Wash your hands. Maintain at least six of distance between you and others. Wash your hands. Cough into the crook of your elbow. Wash your hands. Make extra effort to stay away from people who are sick. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. And wash your hands.

Just like the frequent advice I receive during my physicals, our medical leaders keep playing the same song because their instructions are the only chance we have as we fight this unprecedented global health crisis.

I know a lot of people who have been slow to understand the seriousness of the situation we’re facing, and I may not have initially grasped the crushing weight of it if I weren’t around trusted physicians and medical educators all day - prior to the work-from-home directive that my employer instituted earlier this month, of course.

As the Coronavirus erupted in China in January, I listened to physicians in my office as they voiced growing concerns about how the disease would eventually reach the United States and turn our lives upside down. I’ve watched this pandemic play out exactly how they predicted.

The concerning part of that: those same physicians are now having conversations about how much worse it will get before the situation improves. They were right before, and unfortunately for many of us, they continue to be right daily. It’s happening in the northeast and northwest parts of our country in particular, and what we’ve experienced in Arkansas is only the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t let the advice of our medical leaders become numb. Realize the repetition should underscore the importance of heeding their words.  

The only way to decrease the number of infections that occur every day is to listen to what our doctors keep echoing. The only way we can prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed – like we’ve already seen in many parts of the world and now areas of our own country – is to practice what our physicians are preaching.

It’s crucial that we listen to what they’re saying, no matter have many times they have to tell us.

Casey Pearce is the Associate Director of External Relations and Marketing for New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.