Family Physicians Urge All Michiganders to Unite on Common Mission to Safely Reopen Our State

September 15, 2020—All Michiganders share the same goal: we all want to safely reopen Michigan.

No matter how we have been individually affected by COVID-19, we all want to get Michigan back to work, our economy fully reopened, and the joys of life the virus took from us returned.

To safely reopen and stay open, Michiganders must unite on a common mission to contain the virus—by taking three simple actions to reduce the spread and protect each other from getting sick or worse.

“There is hope to be found everywhere, and there is an end in sight if we all unite and work together to safely reopen Michigan and keep it open, to resume doing the things we all love to do in our beautiful Great Lakes state,” said Mark Hamed, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAFP, president of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians.

“Spread Hope, Not COVID”

At the request of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Academy of Family Physicians is supporting a new statewide public education campaign called “Spread Hope, Not COVID.” The goal of the campaign is to unite all Michiganders to take three simple actions that will contain the spread of the virus at levels that will enable the state to fully reopen—and stay open. Michiganders must:

  1. Wear a mask or face covering over your mouth and nose to reduce the spread.
    • While masks alone may not always prevent the spread of the disease, scientists, doctors and health experts agree that cloth masks and face coverings can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by about 70%.
    • Masks do not have to be worn all the time. Michiganders are required to wear a face covering whenever you are in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces where you may be in close contact with people outside of your household, or people you do know but have not been with or near recently.
       
  2. Practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet from people outside of your household.
    • COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact.
    • A mild illness for one person, could be life-threatening for someone else.
  3. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently.
    • Don’t touch your face, nose, mouth, and eyes with unwashed hands.
    • This routine practice also prevents the spread of many other viruses and illnesses.

In addition, testing and contract tracing continue to be vitally important towards reopening Michigan. To get tested, call the COVID Hotline at 888-535-6136 from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, or visit Michigan.gov/CoronavirusTest, to find testing locations near you and schedule an appointment. If you test positive, help prevent further spread by participating in case investigations and contact tracing with local or state health officials.

“If all Michiganders unite, we can fully reopen our state and stay open,” said Dr. Hamed. “The last thing any of us want is to reopen our state only to have it close again from another wave of infections and deaths. Reopening before it is safe puts our health care system and economy once again at risk—a risk we cannot afford.”

He said it is also essential that Michiganders stay up-to-date on routinely recommended vaccines that protect against dangerous illnesses like measles and the seasonal flu.

“Family physicians strongly encourage that you contact your physician to get yourself and your children caught up on essential recommended immunizations. That includes everyone over the age of 6 months getting the flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October. Doing so will protect you, your loved ones, and everyone in the community,” said Dr. Hamed.

The “Spread Hope, Not COVID” campaign is aimed at communicating with all Michigan residents through TV, radio, outdoor, digital, social, earned media, and direct communications. The campaign also includes content customized for specific audiences of Michiganders. The campaign’s content is based on extensive research with 2,047 Michigan residents. The campaign is made possible by funding approved by Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress.