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Covid Corner with Dr. Gary Jacques

Covid-19, the name of the new disease caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus has become a global pandemic in just a few short months. The disease and society’s response to it have radically altered daily life for nearly every human being on the planet.

Dr. Gary Jacques was asked to lead the “Covid-19 preparation Task Force” at MANNM and starting in January before a single case appeared in the United States, the 70 plus employees of the Medical Associates of Northern New Mexico were busy preparing. Dr. Jacques started writing a daily update to inform, inspire and engage the staff at MANNM. This has morphed into a weekly blog that we are now pleased to put on our website.

COVID-19 update. Week of June 1, 2020

“Responsibility is the price of freedom” -- Elbert Hubbard

Updated statistics: New Mexico reported 134 new cases on Saturday, March 30, for a total of 7624 confirmed cases to date statewide. 7 new deaths brought the death toll up to 351. 189 patients are currently hospitalized.

Commentary: New Mexico has now achieved success in “flattening the curve” and the number of daily new cases seems to have peaked in early May.

However, the curve does not look like a mountain peak with a downhill slope that matches the upward one. Rather it looks more like a plateau (resembling the mesas of Los Alamos perhaps?) It wouldn’t take much for the virus to gain a new foothold and swing things in the wrong direction once again. Which brings me to this week’s quote.

Inspiration: Elbert Hubbard lived at the beginning of the 20th century. While his quote above has been interpreted many ways by many people, to me its application in our Covid-19 era is simple: If we want things to loosen up, businesses to reopen; if we want the freedom to travel, work, worship and shop in a more unrestricted manner, then we will need to act very responsibly. This next phase will test people’s own sense of responsibility like perhaps no other. Wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet of separation, self-monitoring

and reporting of symptoms will all require discipline. The virus will exploit our weakest link.

Decades after Mr. Hubbard’s quote was penned Eleanor Roosevelt expressed a similar thought: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

I have been very impressed by the maturity of the staff at MANNM and also of our community as a whole in Los Alamos. I have every confidence we will celebrate the relaxing of restrictions in a responsible fashion while continuing to protect ourselves and others. I am not frightened at all by the prospect.

Have a good week!

Gary Jacques, MD

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