Editorial: We owe it to them

Editorial: We owe it to them

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Registered nurse Lynn Ellerbrock takes swab samples from patients at the Genesis Health System mobile collection sample site. As of Tuesday, Genesis has testing equipment in its own hospital to process the samples. It hopes to test 100-150 or more samples daily, CEO Doug Cropper said.

As Quad-Citians hunker down, as we keep our distance to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, we all know the real heroes are outside our walls.

They are the people who continue to provide essential services. In particular, they are the doctors, nurses and other health care providers and first responders who are risking their lives in order to take care of us during this pandemic.

We can’t say enough about their sacrifice. They, like us, have families – parents, children, spouses – about whom they are worried in this time of crisis. Yet, they get up each morning and report to work.

They don protective gear and test people who may be infected with the coronavirus. Each time, they expose themselves to risk.

They deserve our full gratitude.

We can help them, and we must.

We can stay home. We can limit our trips out for essentials. We can maintain a six-foot distance from one another. We can continue to keep up this fight to slow, stall and suppress the spread of this disease.

It would be a mistake to surrender now, even as there are pressures to reverse course.

It's only been a week and a half since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered bars and restaurants closed; it was just last Friday that he issued a "stay at home" directive. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a public health disaster only a week ago, closing bars, restaurants, fitness centers and limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people.

They were right to take these steps, as difficult as they are. We must stay strong.

We know this has exacted a toll on our economy.  It is not easy to put our lives on hold, and it certainly is not easy for people who have lost their jobs. But the toll this disease could exact on the health of our most vulnerable, particularly older Americans, if we fail to carry forward with this fight is frightening.

The toll this disease could take on the health care workers who are our front line of defense, who are worried about being overwhelmed, is not acceptable. We owe it to them to stay strong.

To that end, we are hopeful that by the time you read this that Congress will have put aside the partisan speeches and come to an agreement on the $2 trillion economic rescue package. We know there have been legitimate differences of opinion about how to move forward with this, but they are not resolved by public posturing.

Closer to home, there is something that Quad-Citians can do to help those who are on the front lines: We can help with donations of personal protective equipment that is so vital.

The Salvation Army of the Quad-Cities is taking contributions, including masks, goggles, surgical gowns and latex gloves.

We encourage all Quad-Citians to pitch in with this effort. This is one area where we can live up to the adage that "we're all in this together."

The first step is to call the Salvation Army at (563) 324-4808. Leave a message if you can’t get through immediately.

We have seen reports in other states of frightening shortages of materials. Let's not have that be the case here.

Currently, the number of reported cases in the Quad-Cities is small. But we also know with a lack of testing capability, there most certainly are more cases than we know about.

Should the number of those cases suddenly spike, health care providers could very quickly become overwhelmed with patients. Which makes it all the more important for people to give.

Health care workers are putting their lives on the line for us. At the very least, they ought to have the basic tools to be able to do their jobs. They also ought to have our heartfelt thanks.

Volunteer efforts can’t resolve the equipment supply issue alone. We need our local, state and federal governments to coordinate in order to ramp up production and get equipment to where it is needed the most. We believe federal officials need to mobilize the industrial might of this country to make this happen.

In the meantime, we should all do our part to help protect those who are protecting us.

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