The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 coronavirus a pandemic. At the time of this writing, there are currently three new cases in Wisconsin, including two in Dane County. The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced the cancellation of all in-person classes from March 23 to April 10.
This disease has an acute risk of further stressing our already beleaguered healthcare system. The Executive Committee of Madison DSA is making the following recommendations:
- For the next two weeks (until 3/26), we recommend all meetings held by Madison DSA or its affiliated working groups should not meet in person and should instead use a teleconference tool such as Zoom. Madison DSA has a Zoom account for use and can provide it for any member meetings. In the next two weeks we will be further evaluating whether we continue this practice, including for our annual chapter elections on 3/31.
- We encourage everyone to follow basic guidelines to prevent transmission:
- If you exhibit any symptoms – fever, runny nose, coughing, difficulty breathing – please stay home if able and consider seeking medical attention.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand rub.
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with the crook of your elbow (not your hands). Make an effort to immediately dispose of any tissues and clean your hands.
- Make efforts not to unnecessarily touch your face or mouth.
- Instead of shaking hands, use an alternate form of greeting.
- Avoid panicking if you are not exhibiting symptoms. Take care of your mental health.
- We encourage members to organize to aid community members most at risk of loss during the next few weeks; however, please keep any meetings remote and follow the basic guidelines above. DSA Madison members can also coordinate online using our member mailing list, Facebook group and our chapter’s Slack.
Due to the vast healthcare inequities in our society the working class will be the hardest hit by this pandemic. Our federal government’s malfeasance on this requires us to take action within our communities. We encourage other DSA chapters to join us in these efforts.