COLUMBUS — Today is National Doctor's Day, but there's little time to celebrate for doctors on the front lines of a global pandemic.
More than 34,000 active physicians work in Ohio, including Dr. Eric Adkins at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He said one of the greatest challenges for medical providers in the coronavirus response is the anticipation of the unknown.
"It's hard to understand when it will end, if it will end," Wexner said. "There's a good chance that this may become something that's seasonal, just like influenza is. It may be something that's persistent throughout the year. It's hard to know."
Doctors and nurses from around the world are encouraging people to practice social isolation. Adkins said protecting medical providers also protects the community at large.
"We came to work for you, so please stay at home for us," he said. "That's probably one of the best ways to help support the providers is to trust in the work that's being done within the health system in how we respond to this pandemic."
He added that Ohioans also can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home when sick, washing hands frequently and covering coughs and sneezes.
The United States is now leading the world in COVID-19 cases — which, in Ohio, total more than 1,600. However, Adkins said he sees hope in the way health care workers are stepping up to help. He said he's even talking with folks outside the medical community about ways to mass produce ventilators and other equipment.
"It's mind-blowing how much people are willing to work together over a common cause," he said. "I've called a friend of mine who was a virologist.I've called a friend of mine that actually works in plastics. Suddenly, we're working together and people are just like, 'Tell me what you need, and I'm here to help you.'"
Over the weekend, Gov. Mike DeWine issued an urgent call for personal protective equipment, asking anyone who can manufacture it or has some they can donate to contact his office.
— This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.