I communicated yesterday with several ER and ICU doctors and nurses in my circle. These are the people on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. They had very clear ideas on how all of us can help right now.
In order of importance:
- PRAY for every medical professional you know: for their protection, their strength, and their sanity. Pray also for their families; it is scary to watch your spouse head into danger every day, and scary as they potentially bring germs back into your house.
- If you bought face masks for your personal use, donate them instead to your local hospital. You do not need them – they do! Because private citizens are hoarding them, our hospitals are running out of these critical pieces of protective gear.
- Do not injure yourself or do anything that would require medical treatment. Our hospitals cannot deal with normal medical issues right now. Schedule your heart attacks and strokes for later in the year. Wink.
- Do NOT go to the hospital if you have non-emergency symptoms. If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms, stay home and call your primary care doctor or your state hotline to ask about getting tested.
- If you want to do something practical, drop off purchased and sealed food at your local ER. These must be individually wrapped and sealed so that they can be easily wiped down. You should only give things like granola bars, bottled smoothies, and bananas. No homemade treats right now. Do not enter the ER – just hand the boxes of food to security or front desk staff.
- Offer to help with childcare for the kids of medical workers. Medical staff must work right now, so they may need help caring for their kids who are off school. Assess your own risk factors, though, before bringing additional (possibly infected) people into your home.
Medical friends, please comment below to correct anything I got wrong or to add more ideas.