Medical groups recommend vaccinations, vigilance as COVID-19 deaths top 1 million

Physicians, nurses, hospital leaders issue joint statement on human toll of pandemic.

Surpassing 1 million deaths from COVID-19 is “an incredibly grim and somber milestone,” said a joint statement by three national organizations representing health care workers.

The American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association issued the joint statement marking the human toll during almost 2 ½ years of pandemic conditions.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus remains unpredictable, the three groups said. They called for vigilance, vaccinations and use of evidence-based health practices, such as wearing masks when appropriate, to avoid a resurgence of conditions that have taken a toll on health care workers.

“Our nation’s nurses, physicians, and other dedicated health care professionals and essential workers have been on the front lines from day one, seeing firsthand the devastating impact this virus has had on far too many patients, families and communities,” the joint statement said. “The pandemic has also taken a large toll on the wellbeing of many of our caregivers and put a spotlight on the need to continue to support those who take care of us.

“While we have made great progress against the SARS-CoV-2 virus due to the valiant efforts of health care and public health professionals, aided by vaccines and therapeutics, cases are once again on the rise in much of the country,” the health organizations said. “As we have seen over the past few years, this virus and its variants are very unpredictable, and we must remain vigilant and adaptable in the coming months as the country continues to re-open.

“We continue to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones from this disease,” the joint statement said. “In addition, to help protect those who are not yet eligible for vaccination or who are immunocompromised, we urge the public to continue taking evidence-based public health precautions, such as wearing well-fitted, medical grade facemasks when recommended or required.

“America’s physicians, nurses, and hospitals and health systems thank you for doing your part to help us protect you.”