Together We Will Persevere

Doctor checking patient's vitals

Posted April 15, 2020 by the UVM Health Network

Until the events of the past several months, combatting a global pandemic was a plot to a “B” movie or a launching point for a post-apocalyptic thriller. For health care workers, first responders and public health leaders who participate in preparedness drills on these scenarios, they do so hoping they will never have to put these plans in place. Yet, here we are.

In many ways, the spread of COVID-19 has brought out the best in us. Hope, faith and solidarity are on display every day. We're witnessing sacrifice from all corners of society. Neighbors are looking out for each other, and our skills and community resources are being deployed in new, imaginative ways. We're collaborating like never before, and that includes health care providers working together across three states – New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. The spirit of innovation is rising to meet our unprecedented needs: One example is the distillers who have quickly pivoted to producing hand sanitizer for health care workers and the public.

"It will take all of us, working together with one single purpose, to get through this."John R. Brumsted, MD
President and CEO, The University of Vermont Health Network

But there's no denying that this is also a time of stress, sadness and anxiety. Many are juggling work and families, and many have lost their jobs as businesses across this region cut back or shutter. Layers of uncertainty cloud our future. All of us have been profoundly impacted, and some have lost someone they know or care about. Though we are working hard to flatten the curve of this pandemic, tragically, we know that many more lives will be lost.

For the health care workers, first responders and other essential employees in our communities, calling them “heroes” is an understatement. They put courage and the greater good before themselves. They risk exposure to this virus the minute they leave the house, and they trust in themselves, their colleagues, and their equipment to get through this ordeal. There is no place I would rather be during this time than working alongside these heroes.

We are fortunate that our public leaders – including our mayors, health officials, governors, state legislators and members of Congress – are making bold, tough decisions. These decisions certainly have saved lives. The actions of all who are heeding stay-home orders also are essential to save lives. Our health care system is among the best in the country, and we are rising to meet this challenge. So are our communities. For all who read this, please know your efforts are appreciated and, no matter where we live or work, we are all neighbors and teammates in the fight against this virus. And I am so proud of the steps we've collectively taken to protect each other and to help the most vulnerable.

We can't know exactly what the future holds. It does appear that our collective efforts are making a difference by flattening the curve of this pandemic. That is great news, at a time when we really need it. But this is not the time to declare victory. It will take all of us, working together with one single purpose, to get through this. We must do what we can to continue to slow the spread of this illness. That means staying home, distancing ourselves from others, washing our hands and following masking recommendations. It's also important that we continue to demonstrate our appreciation for those who have no choice but to leave their homes and families to serve in this incredible time of need. We owe it to them, and to those who are most vulnerable to this virus.

Together, we will persevere.

John R. Brumsted, MD
President and CEO, The University of Vermont Health Network

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