Rush Copley Medical Center CEO John Diederich with wife Joanne and sons.
One hundred of the nation’s top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communities across the United States, have come together with an urgent plea for all Americans — mask up, because wearing a face mask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now.
More than 11.5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 — including an additional 1 million in just the past week — leading to more than 250,000 deaths.
The current trends are daunting and frightening. Hospital leaders are increasingly concerned that if the nation stays on its current course, more health care facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of healthy caregivers make it difficult to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients. Unfortunately, this is already happening in parts of the country.
The next several months will be critical. Though there has been positive news about vaccine development, no one knows when those vaccines will be ready for widespread use. In the meantime, everyone must remain vigilant, take precautions and follow public health orders.
The country has reached a tipping point. The power to do what is right is now in the hands of everyone everywhere.
Beginning today, a public service message will run in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. Additionally, hospitals and health systems across the country will continue to unite to share these messages regionally.
“While the latest COVID-19 numbers may feel insurmountable, the truth is that masking up has proven the most effective way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from its spread,” said Dr. Ranga Krishnan, CEO of Rush University System for Health, one of the roughly 100 signatories of the message. “This campaign is sorely needed, especially as we all feel COVID fatigue and risk relaxing our defenses during the holiday season.”
The message reads:
“As the top nationally ranked hospitals, we know it’s tough that we all need to do our part and keep wearing masks. But, here’s what we also know: The science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19. So, please join us as we all embrace this simple ask: Wear. Care. Share with #MaskUp. Together, wearing is caring. And together, we are saving lives.”
In an effort to reach a broader audience, the public service effort will also include messages on digital platforms, social media, online information, links to vital health resources and more. Combining resources demonstrates that these health organizations are working together, will accomplish this today and will get through this together.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to recent studies that have shown face masks successfully limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing face masks protect in key ways: by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer.
In addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas. For further information about masking guidelines — how to choose a mask, how to properly wear a mask — visit the CDC website.
About RUSH: Rush University System for Health (RUSH) brings together the brightest minds in medicine, research and academics. Driven by discovery, innovation and a deep responsibility for the health of our communities, RUSH is a national leader in outstanding patient care, education, research, community partnerships and empowering a new generation of health care providers. RUSH comprises Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as an extensive providers network and numerous outpatient care facilities. Rush University Medical Center is ranked among the top hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The Medical Center was also ranked No. 1 in the nation by Vizient and named a Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group