Georgia AGD President on COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

Normally during this time of year many of us would be preparing to attend 'The Hinman' later this week. However, as you know the COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc throughout the world and has created uncertainty and abnormal times here in the United States.  Stock markets have crashed, economies are coming to a halt, and anxiety levels are at an all-time high. Terms like “Flatten the Curve” and “Social Distancing” have been playing on repeat. (If you are not familiar with these words yet or would like to further understand their importance, here is an article which provides a thorough breakdown:  https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca.)

 Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions and I applaud the ADA's recommendation for dental offices to delay elective care for 3 weeks.  This recommendation helps accomplish two things: 

1. To slow down the spread of the virus by keeping more people at home and

2. To help our fellow ER and Urgent Care healthcare workers stay focused on those affected by COVID-19, rather than having to facilitate care for dental emergencies. 

I know we all have anxiety over reducing office hours and our scope of treatment right now. I am walking alongside you with those concerns, however, I am trying to keep the bigger picture in mind. We all have to take drastic action now in order to have a shot at a better future.  The two biggest challenges we'll be facing are managing cash flow and managing staff Here is a helpful link from Cain Watters & Associates to give you some guidance regarding these challenges:  

https://www.cainwatters.com/digitalblogs/covid-19-update/ .

Pay close attention to The Relief Package Bill 363-40 as it offers some solutions to staffing challenges.  It has passed the House, is supported by the President, and is expected to pass the Senate.

We all value taking care of others and while we may not be able to take care of as many patients as we'd like over the next few weeks, try to focus on taking care of your team members. Do whatever is within your means to make them feel reassured during this challenging time.  I strongly believe that if you can find a way to do that, the possibility of future returns from a committed team member outweighs the current burden. 

Unexpected time off is heading my way. I am certainly anxious but I hope to use this time of social distancing wisely, and here are my plans:

1. Call old friends and rebuild those old connections

2. Allow unlimited time for hugs and kisses from my two adorable daughters

3. Catch up on some dental related reading as well as remember what it was like to read for fun.

4. “Netflix and chill”

I hope you all can find time to rebuild and reconnect while we wait for this storm to pass.  Typically, right now  I'd be preparing for the best days of the sports calendar: the first weekend of March Madness! This year I'm hoping for a different type of victory.  If we can’t cheer on our favorite sports teams currently, then perhaps, we can cheer on universities, institutions, and fellow healthcare providers on the front lines as they help find more efficient ways of testing and treating those affected by COVID-19. I cannot foresee what lies ahead of us, but I can tell you that if we don't take drastic action now, things will only be worse in the future. These next few weeks are critical. Let's do our part.

Thank you for all that you do for our profession - together, we will all get through this!

M. Usman, Sajid, DDS 

2020 GAGD President