Wisconsin continues to be a national hotspot for COVID-19 with increased indicators across the spectrum. Wisconsin’s physicians and other health care professionals have fought valiantly against the pandemic for more than six months, yet the increased number of hospitalizations and the overall spread of the virus are taking a troubling toll on the available workforce. The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) and other leading health care organizations have redoubled efforts to warn the public that without their strong commitment to wise behaviors, our hospitals may not be able to care for everyone who is sick.
Coalition launches PSA with blunt message
“Wisconsin is Losing” is the stark title of the latest Stop the COVID Spread! coalition public service announcement which started airing statewide earlier this week. It’s the fourth PSA from the coalition – a diverse group of more than 100 leading health care, business and government advocacy groups that launched in early October – and has a much harder-edged message about rising caseloads and the effects on Wisconsin’s front-line health force.
“With the pandemic only getting worse, the message to the public needs to be much more direct,” says Society CEO Bud Chumbley, MD, MBA. “We want people to realize that their access to Wisconsin’s health care system – whether or not they have COVID-19 – is literally being threatened. The Society is committed to helping protect our physicians’ health by doing all we can to sound the alarm that needs to be heard.”
You can see all of the coalition’s PSAs, press releases and current list of members at the Stop the COVID Spread! website.
Society echoes Gov. Evers’s plea to the public
Governor Tony Evers gave a rare statewide address the evening of November 10, announcing Executive Order #94, which urges the public to stay home as much as possible, including limiting holiday get-togethers to a household’s immediate family. He also said that he would announce a package of legislation that would further address the pandemic – details of that legislation haven’t been released. In what could be an important signal of political movement, Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “we need to take politics out of it and work together to fight the virus.” While tensions have been high for months between the Democratic Governor’s Office and the Republican-controlled State Legislature, the current COVID-19 numbers might be fostering a less partisan future.
The Society sent this press release statewide Wednesday morning echoing the Governor’s plea, with Board of Directors President Jerry Halverson, MD, DFAPA, supplying a statement amplifying the call for smart public behaviors as a way to protect Wisconsin’s physicians and health care front lines. “We must reduce the spread (of the virus),” the statement says, “or the people who have always been there to take care of us suddenly might not be available to help.”
WHA presentation to major business group lays out stark realities
The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) has also been a leader in bringing facts and data to the public and sharing the pandemic’s effects on Wisconsin. Society member and WHA Chief Medical Officer Mark Kaufman, MD, gave a compelling PowerPoint presentation Wednesday morning as part of a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce webinar. The fast-moving and fact-filled address shared hospitalization numbers in various regions, the latest news on vaccinations and theories on why Wisconsin is suffering so severely compared to the rest of the country. Dr. Kaufman’s presentation is recommended reading.
Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.
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