I write not just as a physician caring for patients with COVID-19 but also as a father, husband, son, brother, and friend. For the last ten years I have had the privilege to care for the people of this region. I have delivered babies, cared for the sick, held the hand of the dying, and raised my family here.

While we all share different viewpoints on a number of topics, there is one thing I hope we can all agree on; COVID-19 is a bad disease, and we do not want it back in our community. This virus does not have a political party, race, gender, income, or social agenda. It does not care where it came from or where it will go. A true wolf in sheep’s clothing, it is too small to be seen with the unaided eye but can attack quickly, quietly, and too often with lethal force.

Once the virus infects an individual, there is little in the way of treatment for its victim. Until we have adequate treatment and/or a vaccine, our best defense at this time is to stop it from spreading. Social distancing and masks work! A simple piece of cloth worn over the mouth and nose can help stop the spread of this disease and do more good than anything medical science has to offer at this time. I do not know how masks and social distancing became such divisive issues, but I have faith we can all work together as Oklahomans in the same way we have always pulled together in times of need.

I urge everyone to do their part to stop the spread of this lethal disease. Please wear your mask, keep your distance, avoid crowded places, and show kindness during this stressful time.

Samuel J. Ratermann, MD FAAFP

Grove, Oklahoma