Marking two years of the COVID-19 pandemic
This past Friday, March 11, marked the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. As I reflect back on those initial days of the pandemic, I am filled with pride, recalling how we as an organization brought together all of our passion, ingenuity and purpose to serve our community and the world in ways that will be remembered and recognized for generations to come.
While we will never forget the devastating number of lives lost and the significant personal challenges many of us have faced, I am hopeful as we enter the third year of this journey together. Today in our hospitals, we are caring for just over 80 patients with COVID-19, down from a peak of over 370 almost two months ago. Of the more than 8,500 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 that we have cared for over the last two years, more than 90 percent recovered -- with equitable outcomes across all demographics -- thanks not only to the extraordinary care they received here, but also to advances in medical research. By accelerating discovery and its translation, Duke broke new ground in vaccine development, surveillance testing, clinical trials and public health initiatives that have helped millions around the globe survive and endure.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do in caring for our patients, their loved ones, our community and each other. Today, I feel immense gratitude that we are finding our way through the storm. Let us look to the future with confidence in better times ahead and with pride in all that we have accomplished together.
A. Eugene Washington, MD
Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University
President and CEO, Duke University Health System