This is a Madison doctor’s message to protesters

Doctor Jeff Pothoff also weighs in on the Badger Bounce Back plan

MADISON, Wis. — Everyone has a different opinion on when the state should re-open. Protesters have been vocal, legislators have responded to Governor Evers’ plans going forward, and now, a doctor is weighing in.

While Dr. Jeff Pothoff at UW Health said he’s been pleased with the community’s response to the stay-at-home order, he said that re-opening the state soon would be a bad decision.

“We know that if we were to reverse social distancing without a lot of thought and attention to detail, we would most likely see a second wave of COVID-19 and our curve would start to peak again.”

Pothoff said he understands why people want to re-open the state sooner rather than later.

“I don’t think it’s lost on anyone that staying at home is difficult,” Pothoff said. He also said that he knows that the state of the economy is having a major impact on all businesses right now, but that the decision to re-open “needs to be made with science and data, not emotion.”

Pothoff said at this point, there should not be any date set as to when the state should re-open.

“The timeline really isn’t set by us setting dates,” he said. “It isn’t set by people in leadership positions. It’s really set by the virus.”

Pothoff said Governor Evers’ Bounce Back Plan is “A good place to start. I think it provides some reassurance to some individuals who are looking for some level of playbook of how we get back to normal. It closely mirrors the federal guidelines which are evidence based, created with scientists and folks who understand pandemics. It outlines some metrics, some things we need to be able to achieve as a state.”

Thousands of people are planning to attend a protest Friday in Madison to demand that Evers re-open the state. Pothoff said he encourages all the voices involved in the many facets of this pandemic to make their voices heard. However, Pothoff said an in-person protest with thousands of people concerns him because social distancing guidelines likely can’t be followed under these conditions.

“If those guidelines are not followed, we are certain that there will be people at these gatherings who have COVID-19 who don’t have symptoms and they could likely spread it to other people at this gathering,” Pothoff said.

Pothoff urges those who are considering protests to also consider this: “I would encourage them to think about the families, the 200 families in the state who have lost a loved one, who are struggling now, who are grieving their loss.”

Pothoff also said anyone who plans on showing up to the in-person protests should wear face masks and continue to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the virus.