‘Worse before it gets better’: Boston lawmaker, physician offers unique perspective on coronavirus response

BOSTON (WHDH) - As a local lawmaker and physician, Dr. Jon Santiago’s worlds are now colliding like never before.

As a state representative from Boston and an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center – Dr. Santiago has a unique perspective on the decisions made on Beacon Hill and what it’s like on the front lines of this crisis.

“Me, as a public health practitioner and seeing what I see on the ground, the sooner we can get this shelter in place or stay home advisory however you want to call it — it’s really a game of semantics right now — the main focus is to get people to stay at home,” Santiago said. “The sooner we can get that done the better we are prepared for the future.

The lack of personal protective equipment has also become a dire situation for medical professionals across the US.

According to Dr. Santiago, it is only a matter of time before this lack of resources gets even worse.

“Right now, where I work, I feel there are enough masks, gowns vents. But, there’s no doubt as the cases continue to mount, as people continue to come to the Emergency Department seeking testing, seeking care, as you ramp up the number of people getting hospitalized we’re going to be needing PPE,’ he explained. “This is the same for all hospitals in Boston.”

When asked how long this emergency could last, Dr. Santiago said it could be a matter of weeks if not months.

“Make no mistake this is going to last at the very least a matter of weeks, but most likely a couple of months and who knows thereafter,” he said.

With that, Santiago said he wished to issue a dire warning to make sure his constituents do not become his patients.

“Well, no doubt this will get significantly worse before it gets better,” he said. “I feel like right now we’re approaching where Italy was a couple of weeks ago this could become Italy in a couple of weeks, so the concern right now is to practice as much social distancing as possible.”

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