Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on moving forward as COVID-19 metrics improve

Massachusetts Medical Society on moving forward as COVID-19 metrics improve

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society have used data to guide consideration of measures and tactics to slow the spread of the virus and protect our patients, the public, and our health care colleagues from infection.

Recent trends are encouraging and demonstrate the efficacy of vaccines and mitigation tactics, and the rapid development of therapeutics show promise toward offering an additional safeguard for the immunocompromised and vulnerable.

It is appropriate to begin conversations about transitioning at a thoughtful and measured pace, and safely balancing risk and our shared desire to get back to a semblance of our pre-pandemic lives.

While there is reason for optimism, it is not time to declare victory over the virus or to pronounce the pandemic ended. It will take some time for our health care system to catch up with patients who have deferred care, and staffing issues continue to challenge many of our health care institutions. Increasing infection rates in other parts of the country and the world present a continued challenge.

With the likelihood that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, we must continue to encourage vaccines and boosters that are proven to reduce hospitalizations and death. We must also be fully prepared to adjust mitigation recommendations when surveillance and data reveal or predict a renewed spike in cases.

We must meet future encounters with COVID-19 and emerging variants by drawing on science and robust data to communicate accurate and trustworthy information. We must assure the ability and willingness to make a swift return to preventive measures when required to limit of the impact on health care and daily activities, including work and learning.

Importantly, we must recognize that the physical, emotional, and financial recovery from COVID-19 will not be the same for all. Those who are most medically susceptible and those who are part of historically marginalized populations and communities of color that bore a disproportionate level of infection and its social, economic and health consequences must remain a focal point of recovery and prevention efforts.

Paramount to successful prevention of future surges of infection that threaten to overwhelm our health care system and disrupt daily life is the restoration of trust in science and amplification of the voices of experts and leaders in medicine, science, and public health.

-Carole E. Allen, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

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