One doctor's move into a garage has prompted a tweet of gratitude from former President Barack Obama, who urged Americans to show a similar level of "selflessness and sacrifice" during the coronavirus outbreak.
Rachel Patzer, an epidemiologist and the director of the Center for Health Services Research at Emory University, went viral Monday on Twitter after sharing that her husband - an emergency room doctor - has isolated himself in their garage "for the foreseeable future" while he takes care of coronavirus patients.
"It pains me to wonder how many weeks will go by that he won't get to hold our new baby or see our older kids," she tweeted Monday. "This is one example of the sacrifice that health care workers are making for our communities."
Meanwhile, she has to raise their three children, including a 3-week-old newborn, by herself. At least 70% of schools throughout the United States, including in her state of Georgia, have been shut down.
My 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. (1/5)
- Rachel Patzer, PhD (@RachelPatzerPhD) March 17, 2020
Patzer shared her story on Twitter, she told CNN, in order to spread awareness of the necessary sacrifices that everyone - not just health care workers - needs to undergo in order to ensure that Americans can "flatten the curve" and prevent the health care system from becoming overwhelmed by sick patients.
"Health care workers cannot fully participate in (social distancing) since they're going to the hospital and helping to reduce the spread of this virus," she said to CNN.
She talked about the necessity of social distancing, or keeping yourself apart from other people unless absolutely necessary, during the coronavirus outbreak.
"It is difficult to see pictures of all the people at bars and restaurants, socializing, making play dates and ignoring social distancing recommendations when I know my husband and many other health care workers are risking their lives to treat more sick patients," she said on Twitter.
Patzer's thread caught the attention of former President Barack Obama, who cited her story as a model of good behavior during this time.
Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus social distancing: Obama reacts to doctor's move to garage