To my beloved Seattle community,

I am your doctor, and I am scared. I go to work each day, at clinic and at the Seattle hospitals, and I care for you and your loved ones. I watch as our COVID-19 case numbers climb higher, as my colleagues fall ill and as our hospital staff break our hearts caring for you. You come in with COVID pneumonia, and you get sicker, and we don our gowns and N-95 respirators to reach you. Every time I enter your hospital room, I know that I, too, face an increased risk of falling ill.

I feel powerless to help you, because despite the best treatments I can offer you, what we really need is prevention of spread of the virus. I wish I could go back in time and stop that germ from reaching you. If you had only worn your mask, and washed your hands, and stayed home, maybe we wouldn’t be here now.

There is only so much that I can do for you, and I want us all to stay healthy. To those who are still well — please, please wear your masks. Please stay home and ride this out.

Hilary Iskin, M.D., Seattle