"They're giving everything," the former president tweeted

By Georgia Slater
March 18, 2020 10:59 AM
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Former President Barack Obama is sharing his appreciation for health care professionals working around the clock during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

On Tuesday, the former president, 58, expressed his gratitude on social media by drawing attention to one family’s story of how they are working through the turbulent time.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our health professionals and everybody who’ll be on the front lines of this pandemic for a long while,” Obama wrote. “They’re giving everything. May we all model our own behavior on their selflessness and sacrifice as we help each other through this.

Obama highlighted the story of Rachel Patzer, an epidemiologist at Emory University who is home on maternity leave with her newborn baby and two young kids.

On Monday, Patzer tweeted that her “spouse is a physician in the emergency dept and is actively treating coronavirus patients.”

“We just made the difficult decision for him to isolate & move into our garage apartment for the foreseeable future as he continues to treat patients,” she shared.

The medical professor explained that while her husband won’t be able to “hold our new baby or see our older kids” it is “an example of the sacrifice that healthcare workers are making for our communities.”

Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama
| Credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty

Like many others in isolation, Patzer said she finds it “difficult to see pictures of all the people at bars and restaurants, socializing, making play dates, and ignoring social distancing recommendations” especially when her “husband and many other healthcare workers are risking their lives to treat more sick patients.”

Patzer concluded her thread by urging others to “take this pandemic seriously.”

“Please thank a healthcare worker for what they are doing and sacrificing,” she added.

The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness — what is now known as COVID-2019, a form of coronavirus — began in Wuhan, China, in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic.

As of Wednesday morning, March 18, there have been at least 5,881 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 107 deaths in the United States, according to The New York Times.

Epidemiologists have said that Americans need to start practicing “social distancing” — staying inside as much as possible and keeping about 6 feet of distance from people — to limit the chance of asymptomatic people spreading the coronavirus further.