Public Service Campaign Seeks to Influence Responsible Personal Behavior to Reduce Infection Risks During Prolonged Holiday Season
As warnings against holiday travel and gatherings reach a fever pitch for Thanksgiving, the state's advocacy group for physicians has issued a comprehensive public service campaign to help Tennesseans stay healthy and safe over the next several months. The physician members of the Tennessee Medical Association are urging a refrain from immediate travel and the immediate adoption of its "Prescription Against COVID-19".
"We're in for a long holiday season unlike any other from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and New Years to the Super Bowl," said Dr. Kevin Smith, President of the 9,500-member Tennessee Medical Association which serves the state's physicians.
"While masks and 'social distancing' have been prominent messages about COVID-19, we need our patients to understand this virus requires extra precautions," Smith said. "Our six-point 'Prescription Against COVID' includes more of the best practices that can help keep you and your family safe."
The six-message, multi-media campaign is available to news organizations, healthcare partners and other health networks who wish to promote it across the state. The campaign includes social media graphics, printable in-clinic posters and flyers, and a 30-second video produced in conjunction with the American Medical Association. The statewide "Prescription Against COVID" urges the following health protocols:
- Wear a Face Mask. When in public, use a proper fitting face mask that fully covers your mouth and nose. Do not touch your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth, as these are main avenues of virus transmission.
- Wash Your Hands. Frequently wash your hands and practice advanced hygiene (such as covering coughs and sneezes), particularly after contacting something another person may have touched; it is generally good practice to have hand sanitizer available, but not as a replacement to hand washing.
- Keep Your Distance. Physically distance from anyone by at least six feet to reduce the chance of viral spread. If you are near others outside your immediate family for any period of time, wear a face mask, open windows and doors for ventilation, or meet outside entirely.
- Get Your Flu Shot. We've never had a major pandemic at full capacity as we approached a normal flu and cold season. A flu shot can protect yourself against at least one illness and increase your odds of staying well. These are readily available from healthcare providers, including pharmacies, clinics and physicians, and we urge all Tennesseans to get one now;
- Get the COVID Vaccination When Available. When a COVID 19 vaccine becomes available, don't delay getting one for you and your loved ones. If you have concerns, speak with your physician.
- Create a COVID Code of Conduct. We advise all families, individuals and members of any community (schools, churches, neighborhoods, etc.) to agree on what is acceptable behavior, and who you will or won't associate with based on their own COVID-related behavior. This includes agreements on what events, activities and locations you will all avoid in order to stay safe together.
"Our role as physicians is to examine, diagnose, treat and advise our patients statewide," Smith said. "With COVID-19, as with other serious medical illnesses, our remedy is safety-tested and science-based. We're putting confidence in our fellow Tennesseans to heed our simple prescription."
The Tennessee Medical Association also maintains a robust Coronavirus Disease Resource Center online, with color-coded case prevalence maps specific to Tennessee, a running summary of Gov. Lee's Executive Orders, and weekly news updates from across the state, all specific to COVID-19.