Dr. David Hicks expresses growing frustration with public’s handling of COVID-19

Updated: Jul. 9, 2020 at 7:55 PM EDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - For more than four months now, health care professionals have been beating the drum about precautions we should be taking to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Jefferson County’s Deputy Health Officer, Dr. David Hicks, has been helping us navigate this pandemic from the very beginning, offering his advice about testing and how to keep this virus from spreading, but it became clear he’s growing more frustrated about how the public is handling this pandemic.

“You are now hurting the safety and security of society because you didn’t do your part as a citizen,” Dr. Hicks said.

Strong words from Jefferson County’s Deputy Health Officer, as the number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to climb.

“Jefferson County is a new emerging hotspot in the United States of America. Alabama is one of those states that’s on the radar screen of…we’re going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Hicks explained.

He said that’s because people aren’t taking enough personal responsibility to help slow the spread of the virus, adding our decisions, or indecision, impacts everyone.

“I have public safety and correctional officers and firefighters that are out of work because the general public didn’t do the right thing to protect them as well. So, now when we do need law enforcement to respond to something, or an EMS paramedic, and they now have less workers to respond, we’re hurting ourselves,” Dr. Hicks said.

Dr. Hicks said safety precautions like thoroughly washing your hands, keeping a safe distance from others, and wearing a face covering, are a small inconvenience, if it means saving lives.

“It’s a full toolkit, and so, we wouldn’t go into a war with our hands tied behind our back. So, if we wash our hands, but don’t wear a mask, we’re tying our hand behind our back,” Dr. Hicks explained.

He also said following these guidelines doesn’t just protect you, it protects those you love.

“And if you say you care, especially here in the South, where we’re in the Bible Belt, right? We have a strong faith tradition here. And no matter what faith background we have, one of the beautiful things about being down here is that we look out for our neighbors and we say we love each other, but we can’t say it and not put the actions behind it,” Dr. Hicks explained.

Dr. Hicks said at the beginning of the pandemic, tests were in short supply, so only a select few were able to get them, but now that tests are more widely available, he said everyone should be tested.

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