Commentary

Letter from the Editor: Stay safe and, please, wear a mask


 

“Beginning immediately, the University of Michigan will require all students, staff, faculty, and visitors to wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose while anywhere on campus grounds.” (Mark S. Schlissel MD, PhD – President, University of Michigan – July 15).

Executive Order 2020-147 (Michigan’s Governor Whitmer) mandated appropriate facial covering for all indoor spaces and crowded outdoor spaces. Additionally, businesses will be held responsible if they allow entry to anyone not wearing a mask.

Dr. John I. Allen

While enforcement is proving to be a nightmare, masking combined with social distancing, hand washing, and staying home are the only effective levers we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. As of today, 138,000 Americans have died, and we anticipate 240,000 deaths by November 1. By now, most of us (myself included) have had a friend or relative die of this virus. America is not winning this battle and we have yet to see an effective, coordinated national response. Four forces are killing our citizens: COVID-19, structural racism, economic/health inequities, and divisive politics. We should do better.

Although Michigan and Minnesota (my home states) have slowed the virus enough to maintain resource capacity, just last weekend a single house party in a suburb near Ann Arbor resulted in 40 new infections. Thirty-nine states have rising case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths. We are still in the early innings of this game. Michigan Medicine is actively planning our response to a second surge, which will be combined with increases of influenza and RSV infections.

This month we continue to cover the rapidly emerging information about COVID-19 and digestive implications. There are other interesting articles, including guidance around BRCA risk for colorectal cancer, eosinophilic esophagitis, probiotics, and the emerging impact of AI on endoscopy. Enjoy – stay safe, wash hands, socially distance, and please, wear a mask.

Respect science, respect nature, respect each other” (Thomas Friedman).

John I. Allen, MD, MBA, AGAF
Editor in Chief

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