A message from Dr. Richard Friend, dean of the College of Community Health Sciences

January 31, 2022

In just a few months, COVID-19 will begin its third year of existence in our lives. Like last year and the year before, University Medical Center will continue to adjust and adapt, and our doctors, nurses and other medical professionals will continue to be here for our patients, providing the health-care services and support they need.

The latest installment in the COVID-19 pandemic has been the Omicron variant. While Omicron is extraordinarily contagious, cases are often mild, presenting with headaches, fever, runny nose and sore throat, and they resolve quickly, especially among those vaccinated and boosted.

There is other positive pandemic information. We have one of the most efficacious vaccines ever produced, and we are seeing great benefits from COVID-19 booster shots. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted are either avoiding COVID-19 and its variants, or if they do contract the virus, they are not getting seriously ill and not requiring hospitalization.

There has been a lot of science that developed over the course of this pandemic, providing a playbook to guide us, and we continue to learn about COVID-19 every day.

Many people have unfortunately gotten infected with a version of COVID-19, and many others have been vaccinated. This means that people here and across the globe are beginning to acquire some immunity. And as that immunity continues to develop with each new variant, the burden of COVID-19 on the population should be less and less.

While we are in a much better place today than we were previously in the pandemic, it’s still important to take precautions to keep you and your family safe from the virus.

If you aren’t vaccinated, I strongly encourage you to get the vaccine. Vaccination is the most effective prevention tool that we have. And once you are fully vaccinated, get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Wear a well-fitting mask and wear it correctly – over the nose and under the chin, with no gaps on the sides of your face. Practice social distancing and good hand hygiene. If you can, go outdoors for activities and gatherings when you are with people outside of the family you live with.

And remember to take good care of yourself, physically and mentally. Be flexible, make good decisions and stay optimistic. Let’s all do our part to keep our families, workplaces and communities safe.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center and the Student Health Center and Pharmacy