UChicago doctor on COVID-19 warns: ‘This virus is unforgiving’

Emily Landon explains why staying at home is crucial to protecting everyone

An infectious diseases expert at University of Chicago Medicine, Assoc. Prof. Emily Landon’s job has been to prepare for outbreaks such as COVID-19.

A leading authority on the novel coronavirus since the outbreak in the United States, she explained during a March 20 news conference why Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order for Illinois residents to stay at home is crucial to protecting everyone.

“We all acknowledge that this is the only way forward. This virus is unforgiving. It spreads before you even know you’ve caught it. And it tricks you into believing that it’s nothing more than a little influenza. For many of us, it may not be much more than the flu.”

Landon underscored the need for social distancing as a way to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus.“All we have to slow the spread is social distance. And if we let every single patient with this infection infect three more people and then each of them infect two or three more people, there won’t be a hospital bed when my mother can’t breathe very well or when yours is coughing too much.”

—Adapted from content first published on the UChicago Medicine website. Read the full transcript of her address here.