Health is a Human RightFive months ago, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about the virus and about how to limit its spread. We’ve also learned a lot about each other. We’ve learned that, for the most part, people are genuinely concerned about the effects of this virus on their health, their family’s health, and the health of people they don’t even know. They’ve worked hard and committed themselves to limiting their contact with others, practicing physical distancing, washing hands and disinfecting often, and for those without legitimate conditions that prevent it, wearing a mask. 

Our agency has a list of five core values that guides us every day. At the top of our list is the core value that Health is a Human Right.   

We ask all Dane County residents to consider the rights of everyone in Dane County to be healthy and free from this virus. 

We know that wearing a mask can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. The choice to wear a mask is nothing compared to seeing a loved one with long-lasting side effects, being hospitalized, or dying, or seeing hospital staff have to decide if your loved one or a different patient should get a ventilator because the number of patients is greater than the number of ventilators available. 

We too long for the days of being able to head out the door without worrying that we’ve forgotten our mask and hand sanitizer.  We understand that zoom happy hours and family get-togethers are not the preferred way of connecting and that it’s hard not to hug those we haven’t seen in a while when we greet them. We know how important socializing is to our mental and emotional well-being. But we know that that same close physical connection puts us all at risk. 

This is not the first time that small acts of individual sacrifice have had a life or death meaning for our country. During World War II everyone was asked to make personal sacrifices in the form of rations on food, gasoline, supplies, and medicine. They may not have been happy at all times to do it, but they made these collective sacrifices for the greater good of saving lives and winning the war. 

The people who lived through that time and made those sacrifices are often times called the Greatest Generation. Let’s become this century’s Greatest Generation. Let’s work together for the greater good---the right of each and every person in Dane County to be healthy, and an end to the pandemic.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.