The coronavirus pandemic is a serious threat like none we have experienced in our lifetimes. Highly contagious, COVID-19 can be deadly, especially to older adults. If current containment efforts are not successful, a large influx of sick patients could overwhelm our health care system as it has done in Italy. Studies of the last pandemic of this proportion—the 1918 influenza—have shown that social distancing was the most effective containment measure.

Whether or not you are involved in the direct treatment of COVID-19 patients, we all have a role to play in this crisis. As physicians, our patients, family and friends look to us for guidance on how to respond. We should be unified in emphasizing that that complacency is not an option. People should follow the directives of our local public health officials as well as the CDC and the World Health Organization.

Special thanks to our local public health leaders, including KCMS members Dr. Rex Archer (KCMO Health Department) and Dr. Lee Norman (Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment), for their strong leadership. Also thanks to you in primary care, emergency medicine and urgent care who are on the front lines treating patients every day.

Together, we can and will manage through this crisis.

Betty Drees, MD, FACE, FACP


Coronavirus Resources

Lessons from 1918: Social Distancing Was Most Effective Preventive Measure