FORT WORTH, Texas — In a video circulating on social media, more than a dozen physicians from Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth are opening up about their COVID-19 concerns as we head into the holiday.
“Forgo large family gatherings if you can,” pediatrician Dr. Diane Arnaout said on the video. “You guys, it's not going to be like this forever.”
“Is anybody else worried about this pandemic holiday coming up? I am,” said Dr. Bradley Mercer.
“What I fear most about the upcoming holiday season is that we'll have a surge after the holidays that will overwhelm our hospital systems,” echoed Dr. Daphne Shaw.
The video came on the heels of a week that saw thousands of new COVID-19 cases in Tarrant County alone. On Monday, 1,124 new cases were announced by the county, and 778 patients with coronavirus were hospitalized.
“Physicians, in general, have reached this level of desperation where we are begging people to stay home, to not gather with people outside their home,” Dr. Arnaout said.
WFAA asked why she felt it was important as a pediatrician to share that message.
“Because kids do get sick,” she said.
On Monday, 11 children are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 at Cook Children’s, hospital officials said. Last week, there were 20, which was a record for the hospital since the pandemic started.
Children’s coronavirus cases are typically mild, Dr. Arnaout said, but kids can easily spread the disease to adults, including the elderly and immunocompromised.
“As pediatricians, we also care about patients’ families. We care about the fact grandma is picking up son or daughter from school,” she said.
In the video, doctors also shared their adjusted plans for Thanksgiving. One doctor said she canceled her plans for a 14-person Thanksgiving celebration.
Now, she’s having a holiday with “less than six” people, “staggered” and limiting the amount of time people are spending together. Other doctors spoke of virtual gatherings or limiting the holiday to household members.
“We're not going to be doing an in-person holiday,” said another physician, Dr. Laurie Gray. “We're going to be doing it on Zoom.”
The doctors hope you’ll do the same.
“We have Facetime, we have Google Hangouts, we have Facebook,” said pediatrician Dr. Ramon Kinloch.
The doctors also hope their public pleas may change behavior or even save a life.