ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine has joined about 100 of the nation’s top health care systems with an urgent plea for all Americans – mask up, because wearing a facemask is our best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 11.5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus – including an additional one million in just the past week – leading to nearly 250,000 deaths.
The current trends are daunting and frightening. If the nation stays on its current course, hospital leaders are increasingly concerned that more healthcare facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of healthy caregivers make it difficult to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients.
Beginning today, the new campaign’s 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, Michigan Medicine and other hospitals and health systems across the country will continue to work together to share these messages regionally.
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.
“After many months of living in social isolation and refraining from some of our favorite activities, this is not easy. We are all fatigued and stressed. However now is exactly the wrong time to let up,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Michigan Medicine, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president of Medical Affairs at the University of Michigan.
“We all must be vigilant in the behaviors that will protect us, our families, and our neighbors: wear a mask, socially distance, and practice frequent hand hygiene. These practices are our best defense against a disease that we still are trying to understand.”
Runge stressed that COVID-19 is very dangerous and can have detrimental health consequences. He cited new Michigan Medicine research about lasting effects in previously hospitalized patients.
“This is not a benign disease. Yes, many people infected do not require hospitalization. But many die and many others will never regain their health,” Runge said.
This week, Michigan Medicine had as many as 75 COVID-19 positive patients at one time, with up to 20 of them who were critically ill and requiring ICU care.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to recent studies that have shown facemasks successfully limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing facemasks protect in key ways: by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer. More information from Michigan Medicine is available here.
“Scientists and clinicians are learning more and more from this disease, and the outlook for more effective treatment and vaccination looks promising. But for now, we have to use the tools that we know work: wearing masks, staying socially distant and washing hands,” said Laraine Washer, M.D., medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Michigan Medicine.
“This, of course, makes the upcoming holidays a challenge. But the traditional gatherings of multiple households is a high risk situation for exposures to Covid.”
About Us: EveryMaskUp.com is a collaboration of 100 leading health systems representing thousands of hospitals across the U.S. joining together to create messages for the betterment of communities they serve. The impetus for this, and other public service campaigns to follow, came from a group of health care marketing and communications executives meeting for a decade and reengaged weekly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The goal is to share knowledge and experience, best practices, strategies and resources- knowing they can accomplish more together. Founded and led by Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D., Los Angeles-based national health care leader and consultant, the expanded coalition is partnering with Cleveland Clinic Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Paul Matsen and his team for this effort. Additionally, hospitals and health systems on a regional basis continue to come together to send messages like these of prevention and safety, hope and healing, life and death, care and caring.
About Michigan Medicine: At Michigan Medicine, we advance health to serve Michigan and the world. We pursue excellence every day in our three hospitals, 125 clinics and home care operations that handle more than 2.3 million outpatient visits a year, as well as educate the next generation of physicians, health professionals and scientists in our U-M Medical School.
Michigan Medicine includes the top ranked U-M Medical School and the University of Michigan Health System, which includes the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, University Hospital, the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and the Rogel Cancer Center. Michigan Medicine’s adult hospitals were ranked no. 11 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2019-20 and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was the only children’s hospital in Michigan nationally ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties analyzed by U.S. News and World Report for 2019-20. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation’s biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $500 million.
More information is available at www.michiganmedicine.org